Updated: Sep 5, 2020
Being an Angler is more than throwing a tight loop.
After many years of observing myself and many others I have come to believe that the most important and first characteristic of an angler is passion for the fish. Passion that explores the desire to connect with them, to preserve them, to treat them carefully, and demonstrate our understanding of the fragility of this "thing" we are passionate about. While excellent casting and presentation is the skill we strive to perfect, without passion for the fish we are more like the technician and not the craftsman. Casting well is dependent on multiple factors, and as I continue to get older I am well past my peak of casting prowess from a physical perspective, but have much yet to accomplish from the perspective that is centred on passion for the fish.
I am very fortunate in that I get to fish with folks from all across our country and from many different backgrounds. I began to think about angling in particular and adjust my way of thinking. In the past I casually assigned the title of "Angler" to those who were adept at casting, understood placement and drift, and often had their efforts rewarded with a grab. But now I think about it in a subtly different way. As a guide I certainly value people who come to my river and just want to have a nice day floating, catching a few fish, and enjoy our tremendous scenery. However, my objective is to introduce them to the idea of becoming anglers and it is clear that connecting them to the experience is the first step in igniting their passion for the experience. In time, and with multiple opportunities and thousands of repetitions their casting stroke and ability to read water, understand how the bugs interact and develop a storehouse of experience will lead them on their journey. Guides get to introduce and watch as the passion grows, you can see it happening without regard to age or experience. Some of my most impactful memories of watching passion grow is in young folks, but equally powerful is when a older person reconnects with a lost idea from their youth, or when a combat veteran joyfully forgets difficult times for a moment and enjoys the country he or she defended. Watching a Dad who has kids that he only gets to see a few weeks a year and knowing he is trying to expose them to the natural world when the majority of their daily interaction is in their devices. The river and the fish do all of the work, all a guide really has to do is present the opportunity and for those who are destined to become anglers the river seals the deal.
Moving water speaks in a powerful but understated way, because while you hear with your ears you are listening with a quiet mind. Passion understands that there is no end, but rather we move forward: continually valuing the experience and improving the experience. Dismissing the body count is a place where anglers begin to realize the enormity of the experience. Fishing is and should be more akin to art than anything else and the reaction of the angler to the water, weather, scenery, and ultimately to the fish is the experience that becomes the object of our pursuit. My thanks are to my Dad, my “Uncle” Jack and all the anglers whom have contributed to my journey.
At Total Outfitters we are passionate about our river and fish, if you are as well come fish with us.