Posts Tagged ‘What Really Matters in Life


Fly Fishing: You & ‘God’ (Don’t spare the rod…..)

A peaceful August day on a small stream, not another person in site, although someone else had communed with the site before. (SwittersB)

“You must not use this aforesaid artful sport for covetousness, merely for increasing or saving your money, but mainly for your enjoyment and to procure the health of your body and, more especially, your soul.  For when you intend to go to your amusements in fishing, you will not want very many persons with you, who might hinder you in your pastime.  And then you can serve God devoutly by earnestly saying your customary prayers.  And in so doing, you will eschew and avoid many vices, such as idleness, which is the principal cause inciting a man to other vices, as is right well known. … Also you should busy yourself to nourish the game in everything that you can, and to destroy all such things as are devourers of it.”  source

I know, a touchy subject for many. “Oh God, don’t talk about that.” 

Nothing shows how enamored, addicted or committed one is to fly fishing than being cut off from it because of life’s travails. Sooner or later some form of important distraction, duty, emerges that decidedly pulls you from, turns you from the sport. The rod is removed. It isn’t even in view.

Health (your’s/other’s), (plug in here what you consider to be a significant enough demand to put down the rod). I can’t think of many commitments that would seriously deny me my ‘religious’ fix in the elements. Yet, for me, the last few years have been crushingly demanding because of family health issues.

The nagging, crawly feeling of withdrawal from the rod, the fly, the water has a profound grating effect upon the brain, the gut. I don’t like the feeling and there is no other distraction for the supreme distraction. I was talking to someone the other night about the demands of hospice care giving ( the second in two years), of the extended vigil, of life on hold, personal poor health. I said I was over loaded and did not have the energy to do the most healing of actions…go wet a line.

Son's tat...Vesica Piscis in a Triquetra (SwittersB)

The discussion evolved into the critical juncture of what does it mean to mean to fly fish…why the obsession, the edginess when denied? Because it is more than just escaping life, escaping commitments. Fly fishing, for me, is putting myself into a place, a mindset, where on many occasions you can make a commitment to self, to family and loved ones, to a higher purpose. I have never been one for the pew, the walls, the man standing between me and that cross on the wall behind him. If there is to be a connection on some level, for some solace, than let it be knee deep in a stream, rod in hand, mind open to all about and then maybe we can see something that puts us at peace. 

See now, that wasn’t so awkward was it? It connects within you on some level….call it what you will…


Fly Fishing: Old Gifts & Pay It Forward

For me, this time of year is often a time of sorting fly boxes. Rearranging, noting what needs to be tied, mentally giving priority to those patterns that seem to work, or at least did the last season or two.

I recently have come across some old fly boxes and old hook boxes that have a few experimental or forgotten flies in them. The above fly was found in such a box and I immediately recognized the fly. I originally had two such flies, the other long lost. The beauty of this fly is how it came into my possession on Laurence Lake (Oregon).

It speaks to the intent of this post: some fly fisher took the time to give me a couple of his hand tied creations as he came off the lake. By doing so he gave me a wonderful experience and planted a seed to pay it forward.

He’d had a particularly good day’s fishing. I had been struggling against the winds and really had no sense of what I was doing. I exchanged pleasantries. He asked how I was doing and I was honest. He was kind enough to pull out a tin box that had held cough lozenges, but now held his loose flies. He presented me with two yellow bodied, red tailed flies and told me the where, how and having given me the what, told me to have a nice afternoon. And, I did. 

That kind of generosity has happened to me quite a few times and I have paid it forward every chance I get. Gentle pleasantries and when I see a receptive person, I pass on what ever help I can plus it almost always includes a few flies.


Pet Loyalty: The Good, Bad & Pending Times

By your side, dogs are often a household barometer of your mood, your family’s well-being. They pick up on the good, bad and pending. Loyalty beyond conditioning or their needs. Pets are a burden in some people’s minds but year in, year out they are comforting during your worst times. Every once in awhile, as you are lost in your own struggle, look up at that sweet face and give it a rub and a few kind words.


Fishing Journals & Keeping Memories, Not Just Intell

I am a strong proponent of keeping a fishing  journal. There are several out there and find one that suits your style (free flowing writing or entries prompts that seek specifics and a little space to write. Many of us gather intell on the front end via friends, shops, on line etc. but afterwards we don’t write it down. Starting a journal requires self discipline to maintain, especially if your outings don’t yield results. 

SwittersB's & Tony's Fly Fishing Journals

The journals provide plenty of intell for future outings and you will soon write to not only provide data for future trips but to capture special moments and emotions. Going back and reading the entries 20 years or more later about yourself or your fishing partners is quite satisfying. Here are some entries that while not overly unique, show the excitement and pleasure I felt and still provided prompts for future outings.

I remember this day, a water boatman return to the lake with pronounced plops hitting the lake and me. Fascinating.

The journal can even be the repository for old cards and pictures. Here I found a card from my mom, who obviously knew how to select a Christmas card I would enjoy.

Tony's entry showed his transition to a 2 hander and expensive tastes.

Consider a journal that fits your writing style, temperment and invest the time (takes maybe 10 minutes or so) to make the entries and reap the rewards in the near future and many years later. Oh, that Little Gray Nymph….I will throw it at you again.


Merry Christmas to the Naughty & Nice!!!

St. Nick’s History


Fly Fishing & Tying: Resilient Warriors

I have had occasion to employ young men back from multiple tours in the Middle East. The price paid by some most of these young men is humbling and thought provoking. I have become somewhat familiar with VA resources and private outreach for the soldiers as they struggle to adapt back into civilian life and the basic demands of employers and self care.

So, the outreach to the often fragile, physically/mentally impaired warriors that served is more than a little interesting in a passing sort of way. Many of us that have served, in one fashion or another, have our gnawing demons. It is often a part of fly fishing writing to pro forma ask ‘why do people fly fish?’. Honestly? Stability, comfort, peace, renewal, at one, retreat, to unwind. All those descriptors encompass but one thing. If you have been there, you understand.

So, the attached link about the use of fly fishing and fly tying to help soldiers rebuild, to offer some element of balance and hope in their lives is humbling and I hope you think inspiring.

                      Veteran Brothers & Fly Fishing  


Dog’s Loyalty To the End (Nothing Needs to be Said)

Navy SEAL laid to rest & his pup at his side. Wrenching don't you think?

Navy Seal’s Most Loyal Friend



Fly Fishing: Life Interruptus

I imagine every insidious (well not insidious, but invasive) hobby, or past time, has that pull; that pervasive pull on your mind, your equilibrium. I use to feel it about working out. Injuries have lessened it, but not wiped it out yet. Gardening is there as my connection to the soil, beginnings, nurturing and tending to endings.

Penny studies with me on how to catch fish. She seems equally fascinated with this passion. She likes the pictures a lot. SwittersB

But fly fishing and all the associated trappings is so a part of me that when I can’t fish or even tie, I do feel a withdrawal or craving that is so strong I can get testy. Wanderlust, skills performance, moving and planning, connection to the flows, observing for signs, tying to create to seduce. Take it away from me and I range from longing to severe withdrawal. Once there, getting ready, doing it…I am almost immediately at ease.

Life Interruptus: poor health, loved one’s needs, work, hard times or even other hobbies. You will know the worth of fly fishing et al, to you, doing it and once you are cut off. For me, fly fishing has deeply inserted itself into my sanity equation. It is a good thing….but, sometimes life does intrude. Have faith.


Ernest Schwiebert

“I fish because of beauty” Ernest Schwiebert

I recently received an early edition of Ernest Schwiebert’s Nymphs, published in 1973. The artwork is extraordinary and the information requires study by today’s spoon fed standards. But, in studying Schwiebert, I discovered he was so gifted in expressing his recollections. I like that. As a rule, I am drawn to the visual for inspiration. But, I also am drawn to simple recollections that provide a glimpse of early inspirations and good times. I must confess that beyond techniques, I have not studied the fly fishing legends. I have a propensity to not idolize much these days, because it eventually leads to disappointment. But, Schwiebert seems to have been a bit of a Renaissance man with regard to fly fishing: science, art, literature, persona.  


Stop and smell the roses…….

Poppy & Honey Bee (SwittersB)

Well, in this instance, I wouldn’t put my nose down toward that Poppy. Snapped with a cell phone outside my aunt’s home. Busy bee amidst the beauty of a Poppy. It was a moment of beauty while removing my aunt from her home and placing her in an adult foster home. 


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