As I'm sure many of you know by now, I spend the majority of my time living in the heart of San Francisco. Since I've moved here, I've met a lot of really interesting people. At some point, fishing usually enters into the conversation, and most people ask, "Why do you like fishing so much?" Each time I've found myself responding in a different way. I've given this question a lot of thought in recent weeks and can't seem to nail down a clear answer. There are so many reasons I enjoy the pursuit of wild fish it's hard to boil down into a phrase or word. It's even harder to explain to someone who's never done it before. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to do a series of blog posts that dive a little deeper into this question. I encourage you to join in on the conversation and share your perspective.
Although it's not the most important reason I chase trout, stress relief plays a part in why fishing is so important to me. In college, I remember leaving the stress of school (In retrospect that stress seems so laughable now) behind by tossing my little 2/3wt rod into the back of my truck and driving a few miles to a tiny little pond in front of a hospital. I'd toss small wooly buggers and poppers to eager bluegill. The time away from studies was such a nice way to take a deep breath and recharge for the work ahead.
Last weekend was just about the same. I dipped out of town and spent a few days wading through two of my favorite Northern California rivers. The weekend started with a 6:00 a.m. wake up call from a friend of mine (one of the fishiest guys I know) who wanted to throw streamers at first light. We got on the river just before the sun peaked over the pine trees and spent a few hours meandering through boulders and wading through thick morning fog. We landed a few nice fish and parted ways a few hours later. He went back to his duties as father and husband and I went back to my uncles place to plan for the evening hatch.
The next 24 hours gave me the opportunity to be on the water completely alone, which was exactly what I needed. It gave me time to mentally step away from work, reflect on some bigger life happenings, and overly focus on getting a clean drift for some super picky trout. At the end of the weekend, I was not only rested physically, but was mentally recharged and ready to take on the busy day-to-day life of working in the city. Fishing does that for me. It gives me the room to block things out or the space to really think deeply about where I'm at in life. The calming stress relief that fly fishing can provide is one of the reasons I love getting out on the water, even if it's at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning!