Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fly Fishing

One of life’s truly great enjoyments and we are centrally positioned to enjoy it more than most.

Pleasant streams
The contemplative challenge in fly-fishing is also its lure
By Jim Jones - Special To The Bee
Published 12:00 am PDT Thursday, April 26, 2007

I love drifting roe to catch steelhead. Soaking pile worms all night for sturgeon. Suspending minnows under bobbers for crappie. Fishing with bait has its rewards.

But fly-fishing delivers a dimension that takes an angler downstream to a dreamy place.

"Fly-fishing is so engrossing that your sense of time vanishes," said Richard Allen, who publishes the California Fly Fisher.

Since Saturday marks the traditional trout opener for California's streams, his words resonate all the more.

"It gets you totally involved with the fish and your environment, and trying to figure out what's happening in front of you," Allen said. "It's so engrossing, you can spend half a day on the water, and it feels like half an hour."

I bought my first fly rod at age 11 with money from my paper route. I was too young to be intimidated by all the gear, the strategy and the literary legend of the pursuit.

Like the venerable Isaac Walton, who 450 years ago wrote in the "Compleat Angler": "Angling (with the fly) may be said to be so like the mathematics that it can never be fully learnt."

Or those who argue that fly-fishing is for the elite upper crust and bait fishing for the crusty hoi polloi.

I'm here to tell you it's not that way.

It's more like the movie "A River Runs Through It," which lured legions to the idyllic banks of fly-fishing country, where workday thoughts are shed like clothes at a swimming hole.

A new generation of fly fishers is discovering that it's not so highbrow or complicated, but rather a simple way to fish and commune with nature: the cool push of water against the legs; the challenge of deciphering what is hidden, revealed, then hidden again by the shifting play of light and shadow.