Monday, July 23, 2007

Towards the Essence

Being, once again, a half way through another trout fishing season I’ve, again, started to think about my gear. When I started fly fishing, I simply wanted to get all the stuff needed to catch the fish. Back then it meant that I needed to get everything; different rods and reels and lines for different conditions, all flies imaginable for the most unimaginable conditions, a fully loaded fly fishing vest, and so on. I was a teenager and my parents didn’t share my enthusiasm, so, perhaps luckily, I didn’t get everything I wanted.

In last few years I’ve been slipping more and more towards minimalism when it comes to the gear. The minimalism was not my idea, but when I read about it, when I thought about it, I found that it suits me perfectly. I had a lot of stuff, but I had already fished enough to know that I needed only a fraction of it.

A wife of a fly fisherman may think that this minimalism is a good thing, an idea that saves family resources, both time and money, and for the most part this is correct. But there are exceptions, like when I decided to simplify my fly selection, and to drop the number of my fly boxes down to two, I had to buy two fly boxes. And I also had to tie all my flies again. So it cost a bit money (if you're going to use only two boxes, they better be quality boxes) and a lot of time (about every Tuesday evening from September to May).

Half way through this season I look the contents of these two boxes and I know that the flies I actually use 99 % of the time would require the space of a half of a fly box. I’m currently searching such a fly box. Once I had a vest, then a chest pack, then a wading jacket, and now I'm thinking about a pocket that can hold one small to medium sized fly box. Then, when I have again minimized my gear, I start to slip again to the other direction. I’ll take some extra flies or a new gadget for next fishing trip. Little by little I’ll start to accumulate more and more gear. And it’s fine.

What is the essence then? I’m slowly beginning to learn what there actually is to learn. For all I know the gear has very little to do with it. They are means to an end. But even the end is not the point. Perhaps more time than thinking the answer should be spent thinking the question. If you say “I'm fishing to catch fish” then you either have the wrong answer or the right answer for the wrong question.

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