Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Big Fish, The Little Fish, and the Ones That Got Away

As 2009 draws to a close, I reflect on my fishing for the year, and think about the trips to come. This is not a task that I feel I need to do. I went fishing, I caught some fish. I didn’t catch nearly as many fish as I would have liked.
In June, I had the opportunity to fish Hot Creek Ranch. A private ranch, it is the kind of place that galls fishermen who think that there should be no private waters, no hotsy totsy place set aside only for the fishermen who can afford it. I agree with them, but as long as I can afford it, I will go. Not because I catch lots of big fish, although I did enjoy some of my best fishing during that trip. I don’t catch very large fish, although there are many in that little stream. No, what happened this year is what always happens on that little stretch of spring creek. I am humbled.
I don’t particularly like that.
But it provides some good fishing stories and lots of memories. And the expectation. Maybe next year I’ll do better, maybe next year I’ll tie my surgeon’s knot better, so that perfect drift leading to an aggressive take won’t result in a broken leader that, upon inspection, broke at the knot. Maybe I’ll learn how to make delicate presentations with the wind that blows almost the whole day in that high prairie east of the Sierra and west of the Great Basin. Maybe I won’t panic and pull straight back on the rod as I sit there at the apex of the little ox-bow of the stream, and lose some monster that unexpectedly chose my offering.
It’s been a hard year for many of us. But the promise of a fish pulls me, makes me look forward to the wonder, the beauty of the stream and the fish. Maybe I’ll do better next year.

© James Webb, 2009


  1. I think, it's that humbling that reminds us every time we go fly fishing that it's about learning our way. Every year I fish I wonder if this is the year I've finally learned all my lessons, but usually, I have more to understand. Reading your entry reminds me we all take these fishing steps, no matter how long we've been fishing.
    I like the idea that I'll never reach the end of my line. Gives us something to look forward to. Another year, more fish, more time outdoors....

  2. There are missing entries at this here blog....where did they go????
    Thinking of you~

  3. I think you had a great time out there Well, that certainly guided my thoughts to a whole lot of places. That is the pleasure of great writing. Thanks.


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