by Henry Kanamoto

I flyfish because it takes me into a place filled with cool flowing waters
inhabited by beautiful irridescent creatures usually surrounded by a
cathedral of green. It removes me from my usual work which is stressful,
and hurried, and performed in darkened airconditioned rooms with artificial
lighting. I can escape, if only for a short time, from emergencies and
beepers and the rest of our high tech world. I can return to a more
peaceful place, and in my mind to a much simpler time.

I am linked by tradition to the greats of flyfishing, Halford and Skues,
Gordon and Wulff, and even back to the apostles, who Norman Maclean
considered fishers of men. I am part of a tradition, which like a flowing
river, joins me to the past, even as it carries me into the future. I have
the benefit of their knowledge and I can learn from their writings. And
their wisdom often extends beyond flyfishing into how to live a good life,
and how to conduct yourself before other men and women.

Flyfishing is, for me, a metaphor for life itself. You set for yourself a
code of conduct - upstream, dry fly only, to rising trout if you are a
strict moralist. You resist temptation when the fish are feeding
subsurface, or you may *sin* and fish to the nymphing trout, resolving next
time do better.

The fish carry no prejudice. They care not about the color of your skin,
your gender, your handicaps, or your station in life. All are equal before
the fish, and all are judged equally. You have total control of your
actions, unlike the *real* world where your actions are tempered by the
needs or influences of others. You must accept responsibility for what
follows, and this is not an insignificant lesson in today's world.

The fish is your adversary, and by him, will you be judged. There is
instant feedback - a satisfying tug at the end of the line or silence and
rejection. This too is unlike the *real* world, where the result of your
actions is often separated from the action itself.

Flyfishing allows me to satisfy a natural predatory instinct, which dates
back to the time when our ancestors were hunters and gatherers. It is a
challenge, to fish with the fly. There is the thrill of stalking a truly
large fish, the anticipation of the cast, the suspense of the drift, and
the subsequent elation at a hook up or disapointment at the rejection.
There is the adrenaline rush of the fight and the satisfaction of the
catch. You can act as God and give the fish back his freedom and life, or
you can exercise your ultimate right as a predator and kill him for the
table. Life and death, another lesson not easily learned. Perhaps that is
why I release almost all my fish now, I deal with death in my real job
every day.

There is always the anticipation of a new day, a new adventure. Every trip
is different with unexpected challenges to be met . Conditions change.
Every day is *different*, and yet it is also strangely the *same*. Putting
on the waders and vest, stringing the rod, checking the leader.  The walk
to the stream, scanning the water for rises, checking the bushes for prior
hatches. The first step into the water, the approach to the  lie, the deep
breath before the first cast. Each action, a ritual behavior we follow
which comforts us.

Flycasting itself is a pleasing sensation. It is relaxing.  There is an
almost hypnotic cadence to the cast. The back and forth motion of the rod
with the tug of line against rod just before we release the cast. Casting
is an art and as Norman Maclean states "art comes by grace, and grace does
not come easily." So much of what I do is not art and is not graceful at
all. In much of our modern life, we are surrounded by pettyness and
uglyness. By contrast the flycast, in and of itself, is a thing of beauty.
It is pure in its simplicity and yet difficult to master. It remains one of
the few artistic things I have learned. It is a right brain  exercise, and
much of what I do is left brain exercise. A good and peaceful life is
composed of balance, and flyfishing gives my life balance.

We search for perfection in all we do. In flyfishing there is the promise
of constant improvement but perfection can rarely be attained. Therein lies
the challenge of flyfishing; to improve, to attain a state of grace.

There is also the comradeship with other flyfishers. There is the sharing,
both literally and figuratively, of sustenance. This shared experience
makes our own experiences so much richer. Because of this comradeship, we
are fishing *for* our friends as well as *with* our friends. I fish with
the friends who accompany me, but I also fish for my new friends I have met
in this virtual flyshop.

So my friends, that is why I flyfish. Until we meet again in this virtual
flyshop, I remain,

Copyright 1996 by Henry Kanemoto.
No reproduction, electronic or otherwise, is allowed without permission of
the author.

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* Henry H. Kanemoto               |  internet: kanemoto@MAIL.WISCNET.NET   *
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* "Discovery consists of seeing what everbody has seen and * * Thinking what nobody has thought...........Szent-Gyorgy *