Bait and Switch
I stood there in the middle of the creek. Light was fading to dark and the last of the trucks pulled out of the lot with two guys carrying closed faced spinning outfits and bobbers. Sometimes we fly fisherman get labeled as “elitists” and I can totally understand why. I have been guilty a time or two myself.
I remember walking past a guy under a bridge. He was holding a spin rod upside down with the reel facing upwards. He had enough lead hanging off of an old fiberglass rod to fill a few hundred pencils. Next to him was a container of night crawlers from a local convenience store baking in the sun. “Catch anything?”, he asked optimistically. “Not yet.” I answered in similar tone. I remember snickering to myself about the manner in which the man was going about his craft.
Did I have any right to snicker? Are he and I really all that different? Did we come to the water for many of the same reasons? To clear our head of a crazy day? To feel the excitement of a fish on the other end of your line? To escape the rest of the world for just a few hours?
Most of us did not start out with a fly rod in our hands. That process was a later choice… perhaps an evolution. Some of my fondest memories of my childhood were of me sitting on the dock spin rod in hand staring at my bobber waiting for it to disappear. As I got older, throwing crank baits or soft plastics became my weapon of choice. And now here I stand in the middle of this creek with the last bit of daylight gone thinking how at peace I am with this moment, fly rod in hand. In 30 minutes, I will have made the walk back to my car, taken off my waders, and begun the journey back to my life which is not always so perfect…. but for now… for just a moment… all is right with the world.