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Don’t Ask !

April 29, 2013

The morning was as beautiful as you could ask for.

Clear skies, sun was shining for all its might. The frosty shadows behind the bare trees were still remaining on the ground.

You know the kind of day ? Crisp and clear where you could still see your breath ? It was my respite day.

I’m Disabled by 50% through severe sports injuries to my spine…Fly fishing is my only competitive streak left , that I am capable of doing… it is my passion and has been for the past 2-3 years….

I had dropped my little princess off at her Nanny’s and I had the day to myself .  All to share…. to do with what I wished ?

Fly Fishing was my choice of  activity for the day.  It’s my passion , you see. My love; second only to my family.   ( although the wife says differently ha ha ).

I arrived at the car park of my fishing venue , opening the door to a crescendo of bird song. Early Spring does that to them I suppose.Singing their hearts out . Either attracting a mate or marking their territories? There was still  a chill in the air , but not enough to freeze the visitors dog bowl full of water, outside the lodge. I had arrived just at that time the local fishing clubs members were disappearing through the gate and over a small hill to the lake. Another pleasure angler was in the throes of getting changed and preparing himself for his day on the water. We entered in to small talk , he and I , talking about our past visits and other waters we enjoyed  visiting etc…

Taking our time , so as to give those local anglers who we found out were in a monthly club match… I decided to make myself a coffee as I was going to take it easy getting myself ready,  also to give the club anglers plenty of time to settle themselves in and get their match underway…I was enjoying the chat with the guy in the car park anyway , so there wasn’t that much of hurry. Our conversation dwindled away as we were both concentrating on each of our rods and tying on droppers etc.. The bird song was still harmonious and a pleasure to listen to. Those species of finches like the shy Gold finch are not a regular visitor to my garden , and it is always a pleasure to hear them singing. Throwing out their chests for all their might singing from the highest bough . Intermittently joined by a lone Robin. A good 20-25 minutes had passed by this time and the guy in the car park and I were almost ready to make our way down to the lake…When our very small talk was interrupted by a visitor.

One of the match men had already caught his four fish/bag of Trout. We congratulated him on what looked like a bag of large fish…Probably in the area of about 3-4lb each. The match man continued his walk whilst chatting , towards the weighing room. Both my friend and I in the car park exchanged facial movements, nodding and indicating what a great catch of fish and that the match-man had done so well to get his bag , in such a short time etc…

Locking my car and preparing to accompany my new friend for our walk down to the lake , the match man appeared from the weighing room looking mighty pleased with himself .

As if by cue, we both asked him with friendly tones “what was your weight matey?”

The match-man replied with a huge grin across his face, a look that could have launched a thousand ships…a pleasing weight was announced .

Sincerely, without thinking , the words just rolled off my tongue… “Oh fantastic I replied, what did you catch them on?”

As if by some ornithological power,  the atmosphere of bird song fell ……

……………… to complete silence…..!

The match mans face turned to a look of absolute concreted hate .

My skin tingled with horror as I took a large breath  , like I had stupidly asked him for his security P I N for his credit card.

The silence all around me closed in like a vacuum. I was sucked into a place on that car park that only I could feel. The feeling of absolute solitude, like I had made a loud noise in a library, and everyone had turned to look at me with shock on their faces , and it was me…me the abject misery standing there in the car park with no where to hide. For that fleeting second , that felt like an eternity…I was feeling like ‘a dead man walking’. The match-man, after dropping his head, breaking his 1000 yard stare through me, continued to walk towards the lake…He never said a word !

I looked across to my friend …where I released my breath as we burst into laughter …Maybe to fill the void of the match-man or the atmosphere left in the car park. Maybe to break the icy finish to our shared conversation ? By some unknown understanding or psychic connection…we both looked at each other and said …

“Don’t ask !”

Now let me say ; I love my Fly Fishing with a passion ! It is in my blood to fish.

From a very young age. I have been brought through the ranks of studying and learning my watercraft from many masters of the game in all aspects of course fishing, Pike fishing , Sea fishing etc…. I am a 47 year old man who still gets so excited about the thought of going fishing . I get restless the night before I go . That exciting feeling , I can only explain as being equal to a man about to be married. Like a man about to do his first bungee jump ! It’s in my guts, it makes me feels like my blood is fizzing with joy. Like a child in a sweet shop…? If you understand?

However,the day I get that serious and that grump-ed-out about my Fly Fishing… is the day I am not enjoying it…

The day I am not enjoying it , is the day I will stop !

I hope that day never comes ….?

Now I realise , the match man had his rights to not tell me. I understand and appreciate that he may well have put in hours and hours of practicing and travelling. I take my hat off to him for that  level of dedication.

But I was under the impression that Fly men and women shared their knowledge? That there was a gentlemanly conduct and camaraderie…  I would share it myself without hesitation. The knowledge of fly is but a small part of the information necessary . I didn’t ask what line to use ? I never asked how to present the said fly, and wouldn’t do either…was it a fast retrieve, slow retrieve, on the drop ? Were the fish deep, mid-water or shallow? Those pieces of information were down to me to figure out for myself ! All those serious particulars that could or could not catch a fish ! My partner always says,”it’s all down to your presentation and retrieve that counts in the end “. I have to agree. Who is to say , that when I finally got onto the water, that the fish had changed their diet or were already spooked by that fly? I thought it was at the time maybe silly of me to ask or for him being a little too serious ? But in the future I shall not ask and just wait to be told !


Do we give them too much credit…after all, they’re just fish?


From → Fly Fishing

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