The season of staring at water has begun. I often think about how archeologists feel when they have to close up a dig for the season... knowing full well that treasure lies just below their feet. It’s a feeling that’s somewhat pervasive in our pursuit of trout... for they are always there. Just out of reach, or just stubborn enough to avoid the fly. I walked this pond for a little while last weekend searching for signs of brook trout that can often be seen through its crystal clear headwaters. Not a stir - not a shadow. It was freezing cold and just as I’d decided to jump in the car and drive away I swore I saw a fin cut the surface of the glass. I hopped back out for a glimpse, but lost the game again.
Is there nobility in the waiting? Do we count the glimpse as a catch? The angler is almost always aware of the endless story of acquisition and loss that repeats itself in the act of fly fishing. The root of the allure of catch and release is just that. (A point, I think, that is greatly misunderstood by many). The release humbles us, because it is rarely about victory. Merely a momentary conjuring, and a faith that the trout will once again swim back to our nets. We pray that the time between visits is short, though it always feels like forever. We know that the trout do not disappear, they are merely distanced from us. And as we strive to master the skills that summon them back, we also reveal to ourselves an endless wanting. Pure desire. A repeating.
Whether I cast line or an eye... I await the response... and I’m not going anywhere.