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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fishing

Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA
So It's been quite a while since I last wrote (I guess my second hiatus).  I made the mistake of starting a multi-post technology entry, and after dealing with that stuff all day at work I mostly lack motivation to consume my free time with more of it.  So I don't plan to do much deep technology in the future, and if I do, I will try to stay topical.

So I'll get to a new topic, and break the ice with some talk of fishing!

Growing up in central Utah I was always close to the mountains, and always close to fishing.  At a very young age I was throwing salmon egg laden hooks into the local ponds and pulling out stocked trout.  In hindsight my technique was poor, I simply tied the hook to the end of the line, loaded it with eggs, loaded the line down with enough weight to get to the deep spots, and waited to feel a jerk on the line.  In those put-and-take ponds I caught fish after fish.  But I learned quickly that I didn't really like the taste of fish, and at theage of probably 7 in the mid 80's I'd never realized that there was such a thing as releasing fish.

It wasn't until I became a boy scout that my true love affair with fishing started.  My scoutmaster was as close to a mountain man as any I had known, or have known since, a consummate backpacking fly-fisherman and hunter with a deep respect for wild places.  One day in the park practicing the back and forth casting of the line and our troop was ready to hit real water, the Green River.  And I took to it naturally.  I loved it.

The rhythm of the casting was like meditation, almost hypnotic, clearing my mind; the effect multiplied by the babbling of the river.  And a purpose!  Not just idly standing in nature, but learning the currents and flow of the river, to place a little wad of feathers and thread so that it, and the line snaking back to you, float in unison in what is called a 'dead drift'.  And the fish!  No longer were you throwing out and waiting for a tug.  Floating flies the fish come to you, and when they come on a river, they almost always come extravagantly.  A surface strike is you luring the fish out of the water, oftentimes accompanied by a quick dart down, with the fins making a big splash as the tail-fin smacks the surface.  It's as exciting as fishing gets!



Close up of two strikes (not me)

I was hooked, and I fished a lot, all over Utah and some of Wyoming, all dry-flies just floating the surface.  And I released nearly ever fish I caught, and increasingly among fly fishermen this is the norm, and I hope it spreads even more.  I hold no animosity for those who keep fish, and I will do so on rare occasion, but we all need to be mindful of how many of us there are, and what the ecosystems can handle. <I'll try not to rant :)>  In 1995 my dad hand made me a fly rod for Christmas.  It is one of my most prized possessions, and sees regular use.

Then for years I didn't fish, taking a 13 year hiatus, but the past several years I have picked it back up and found it to be like riding a bike, the muscle memory persisted after so many years.  And I have embraced it as only an adult can, exploring much deeper into the waterways that avail themselves.  I plan to do much more frequent posting about my explorations for fish.

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