Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why We Do This


I made my way to the lake around noon. The air was cool, as the snow from the previous night hung quietly on the needles of the resting pines. There was peace in the air, and I was the only one there to feel its presence. This might be the last opportunity I get to fish this lake for the year, and I was happy I wasn’t too late.

Noticing an icy film hugging small sections of the shoreline, I took a drink of water, and quickly started to rig my rod in anticipation of casting to some cruising greenbacks. My hands were cold from not having worn gloves, so tying knots with the 6x tippet proved challenging. In an act of defiance, my fingers proved futile, and took the likeness of frozen sausage, rather than sure footed tools of the trade. But after some struggle I was ready to go, and I made a mental note to put gloves in the pack for next time.

I started on the east side of the lake, working my way north in a counter clockwise direction. Being too cold to wade, I worked hard to find areas to fish that had enough room for a modified backcast. But for the most part, I stuck with roll casting, as not to disturb the traps behind me. I worked the water hard for the next hour or so, rewarded with a few hungry cutthroat that rose to a size twenty Griffith’s Gnat. It was thirty five degrees, and the fish were looking up. The cold that had gripped my body upon arriving at the lake was gone, and was now just an afterthought as I continued to cast unapologetically to these colorful creatures.

Reading a few of my favorite blogs the night before, there seemed to be something in the air. Re-evaluation. Re-evaluation of the reason and reasons us bloggers choose to share this type of activity. For some, blogging is a way to share their adventures through written word, others share their photography through beautiful images captured in the moment, and some like to share their knowledge. Knowledge gained through years of both successes and failures.

Why me? Why do I choose to share these experiences that up until seven months ago, were nothing more than a routine? The easy answer would be that I like to write. Maybe it is that simple. Or, it could be that my wife had become bored with the stories that I brought home of every trip I took up the canyon. Another possibility is that I wanted to network with a group of people that share a similar passion. And through this forum, I would be able to not only share my tales of success and failure, I would have the opportunity to learn from others that have fly fished a lot longer than I have. But more importantly, maybe the outdoors is meant to be shared. 

As these thoughts were processed, I continued to fish. The sun had now started to push through the clouds, making brief appearances that both teased and warmed. The feeding fish had slowed down, for what I imagined as heavy eyelids from a larger than normal lunch. But more probably, the fish were simply choosing to feed on the next round of insects that were making their way to the surface.

A few reties later, my efforts went unnoticed. The sun was hidden by some new clouds, and a freshening chill could be felt as the light snow was blown off the pines behind me. The lake lay still in front of me, as the wind shifted directions. There was solitude in this silence, and my thoughts went blank.

The quiet was broken by the sound of something large breaking branches and making its way not fifty yards behind me. Not wanting this to be my last shared experience, I started making noise, lots of noise.

As the sound faded off into the distance, I tried to steady my nerves. And looking out into the water, I saw a fish near the surface. I made a cast. And as the line landed softly, I noticed a large silhouette making its way along the west side of the lake…


This is why I do this. All of it.

43 comments:

  1. i am glad you have chosen to share your experiences. i can relate to the significant other losing interest in my stories. through my girlfriend's eyes, each story is the same.

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  2. This is when 35 degrees feels crisp, but not cold! I share the same feelings about finding something new with each outing!

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  3. A moose - that's so cool! Great story and I really enjoy reading your blog - thank you for sharing your experiences.

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  4. Always enjoy tagging along on your journeys. Thanks for packing me...I'll bring the gloves next time.

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  5. You like to write. I love to read it. Keep on writing. Always.

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  6. You have captured perfectly why we do this. Thanks for bringing us along for the reminder.

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  7. My body just dropped 10 degrees and I need to go get a sweatshirt on :) Nicely told story. It really is all about the whole experience. It always looks and feels so much better while doing it then it does on a T.V. Great Pics and that Cuttie is AWESOME! Tight lines.

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  8. Sweet tale. Thx for sharing. I too felt a bit of a chill though it may be that they've not turned the air conditioning off in my office.

    Why do we do it? I think you got the main points nailed. The fishing. The writing. The reading. And, surprisingly, the community.

    Many of those names above me in the comments are folks I feel I know. Some are the familiar face at the coffee shop. Some, it seems we've shared a cup even though we've never met. That's what I find most rewarding about this blogging experience, the people you come to know.

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  9. I think we'll always ask ourselves why we do this, and while we may come close to finding an answer it will always be difficult to put it into words, try as we may. Keep seeking and writing, cause you write good.

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  10. Also, I'm deeply envious of this lake fishing thing. All these reports of hiking into lakes and catching trout is very exciting for us flat landers. Around here, lakes=ponds=Blue Gills and the occasional Bass.

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  11. Very nice..enjoyed that one alot. I for one am glad you enjoy writing about your adventures because I sure enjoy reading about them!

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  12. Sanders, you have shared your experience quite nicely.
    As with all your entries your combination of beautiful photography and just the right words keeps me looking forward to the next.

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  13. you had me at greenbacks. ;-) Srsly, sometimes the fishing is just the means to the End. mike

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  14. This is why the word epic is so overused. Your words and photos are epic.

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  15. Two things:

    One, my dad, who is technically ignorant on purpose asked me once why I keep a blog. I thought for a good long time and finally came up with this answer, "When you were a kid, did you ever have pen pals? Same thing, only I get to instantly visit with my friends from all over the world in near real time." That seemed to get some traction.

    Two, a couple of years ago I was up in your neck of the woods and had a moose encounter while I was duck hunting the high mountain lakes. My buddy was moving around a lake to get some birds moving when he bumped a moose. I could see him disappear into the woods and thought nothing of it. That is, until he showed up a few minutes later just 30 yards from me while I was standing in some marsh grass stuck in mud up to my thighs. I thought to myself for a moment, "Boy, I'm in big trouble if he notices me, or God forbid decides to charge." I was all adorned in camo though, and therefore invisible, so paid him no mind.

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  16. Sanders,
    I'm jealous. Beautiful fish and the pictures.
    Very cool post!

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  17. Sanders
    One thing I've learned in the past year is that regardless of where you're from and what language you speak, a well told fishing tale will hold an anglers attention. Not all blogs are created equal, but your's is difficult to ignore.

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  18. Ivan- Bridget's eyes glaze over right about the time I tell her about my first cast...I don't get it.

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  19. RD- Being able to learn or find out something new every time your out is a big reason to keep doing it. and yes, 35 degrees was pretty crisp :-)

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  20. Jen- Thanks. I really do enjoy sharing these experiences. I'm glad you enjoy following along.

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  21. Dean- Thanks! I need all the help I can get, and if you're willing to bring the gloves...we'll be all set.

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  22. Erin- Thanks. I always appreciate you taking the time to swing by and read what ever it is that I happen to write. Cheers!

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  23. Mike- Thanks. Glad you're all moved in. Welcome back...ha!

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  24. Trout- The experience is the most important thing. Getting out from in front of the tv and witnessing some of these things first hand. I love those cutties...

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  25. Steve- I still feel the chill in my hands from that outing...

    Blogging has been a great way to meet people, even though most of us have never formally shaken hands. It is a great community, whom I'm happy to share my tales with, as well as read everyone elses. It has been a lot of fun.

    Lake fishing for trout has been a relatively new experience for me, and has been loads of fun. Growing up on warm water lakes, it is definitely a different experience.

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  26. Kirk- Thanks. I wrote this and still may not know exactly why I do this...but that's about par for the course. I guess I'll just have to keep going to try and figure it all out.

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  27. Jeff- Thanks! Always nice having you stop by.

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  28. Brk Trt- Thanks for the kind words. I really do enjoy writing about this stuff, and am happy that you and others take the time to read what I'm putting out.

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  29. Mike- Those greenbacks had me at greenbacks as well...I love those things. I agree fishing is a pretty cool vehicle to experience all of this.

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  30. Howard- Thanks! I'm not sure about epic...but it was a hell of a lot of fun :-)

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  31. Gary- It is a very connected world when you can go out take a photo or write a little story and put it out there for people to see the moment you press that "send" button. I'm just thankful that so many people enjoy sharing.

    At first, I thought the noise was from a bear, I couldn't see anything behind me, I could only hear it moving. When I saw him come out on the bank, I was glad he decided to not check me out...I didn't even think about camo...would be nice to have the option of being invisible.

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  32. George- Thanks. These places make it easy to both write and photograph...

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  33. John- Thanks, I appreciate that. And you're right, no matter what the language, a good fishing tale has me from the start.

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  34. Very nice... there's something about that last visit of the year. Good work, buddy.

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  35. Chris- Thanks. I had a great last visit...can't wait until next year.

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  36. wise choice in deterring that bull with the noises. I had a very similar experience in wyoming years back. i chose to crouch behind a boulder and let the cow pass. I can't imagine what would have happened if things went wrong. Great post. I like these last few shots of the fish you've given us.

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  37. d nash- Thanks. It is a little nerve racking when you encounter animals like this...fun to see from a distance, not so fun to be in their cross hairs.

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  38. Stephanie- Thanks. I love the high country.

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  39. I am new to your blog and to fly fishing and I am enjoying them both. I love your line, "But more importantly, maybe the outdoors is meant to be shared." That is soo true.

    Happy Fishing!

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  40. Kerrie- Thanks for stopping by! I wish you well on your soon to be addiction, fly fishing...

    look forward to having you follow along...Cheers!

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  41. Well done... the excitement of the fishing requires telling the story. The stories are permanently etched in our minds. For most, like me, it tends to be talking with my buddies or relating a particular trip to someone who, inquisitively, asks about fly fishing.
    I enjoyed your venture... the chill in the air, the "frozen sausage" fingers, the startling noises. Been there many times over the years, but I enjoyed your sharing the reasons you write. Continue to share with us that "knowledge gained through years of both successes and failures". No matter how much that has been, there will be more, again and again, as long as you fish.

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  42. Larry- There is nothing like talking and laughing with friends about the successes ans failures of time on the river. I will continue to share these experiences for sure. Although, I will have to make sure to get enough time on the water to do so, a sacrifice I am willing to make...

    It was nice seeing you last night. Will be in touch soon.

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