Why do we do it?

Have you ever sat back and really looked objectively at this thing we do?  It doesn’t make a lot of sense on the face of it.

We don’t eat the fish (usually).  We don’t take anything away from the experience… in fact, we usually leave piles of cash behind in varying sizes.

Sure, there is the primal calling to hunt.  There is the adrenaline of seeing that fish speed up on your fly.  There is the wide open expanse of sky and water.  There is the wildness of the place and the peace of the wind through the mangroves and the stunning beauty of the flats… but there is more too.

I think it is the ultimate in validation.  You make the cast with the right fly and have the right strip and you will catch a fish that others cannot catch.  You are doing it right.  If you weren’t, you wouldn’t catch that fish (usually).  Heck, even when you do it right sometimes the fish won’t eat.  After a while you start to do it right more than you do it wrong and the outcome serves to demonstrate that fact… more fish hooked, more fish landed.

Bonefish are very democratic… they only understand the meritocracy of the fly.  You do it right, often enough, and you will be rewarded.

Wouldn’t it be nice if life actually worked like that?

original photo by Tom Larimer


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  1. Video games are designed to be difficult, but to give you just enough satisfaction and encouragement to be addicting. Fly fishing and golf are the same way. No one is ever perfect at these sports but we will spend hours and days trying to be better, to make that cast, catch that fish, sink that putt.

  2. Absolutely right, Bjorn: “the meritocracy of the fly”. Dead on.

    What’s weird is how my guide buddies simultaneously hold that belief and the same belief that no one (except the rare and chosen few) can actually bonefish. Somehow they don’t find this a contradiction; they’ll take folks fishing every day and really, truly, deeply believe that they can and will catch bonefish… even if they have never saltwater fly fished before.

    Like I said: “Weird.”

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