As we fish, we go through different stages of what drives us. I remember stages 1 and 2. For me, they were in Oregon. I was learning how to cast and present a fly, and I went fishless on most of my outings. Thank goodness for the cooperative brook trout I would occasionally catch in lakes high in the Cascades. They made me feel good and kept me going.
By the time I lived in Colorado, and then Montana, I was deep into numbers, a solid stage 3. I had learned how to choose the right fly and present it with confidence so that no fish was safe. I kept count of the fish I caught. I still have those journals and all the numbers!
I never really went through stage 4, and my technique shows! I tried hunting large trout in Idaho spring creeks for a few years, but my mind would wander and I’d lose track of time and what I was supposed to be doing. I never did become a meat chucker (streamer) guy. Cast, splat and strip never sparked joy for me.
But where am I now? Well, I’ve still got one foot in stage 5, as I love the try new places and new equipment. But if I’m truly honest with myself, I’d have to say that I’m rapidly heading into stage 6. Every time I’m on the water, I’m just glad to be there. If I catch a fish, it’s a bonus. Being there, in that moment, with the sky, the water, the breeze, and the trees, that’s what refreshes my soul.
Share Your Experience: What stage(s) are you? Are you at the stage where you just want to catch a fish? Do you keep track of how many fish you catch on any given outing? Do you love the hunt and fight of large fish? Maybe you’re a big fly/big fish person? How about the challenge of new water or new destinations? Is that what fuels you? Everybody’s somewhere. Where are you in your tenkara journey?
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