Fishing! The tug is the drug

Everyone should have a passion for something. For some it’s their vocation and that’s laudable. For me, it has always been fishing. I enjoy my work but it is a way to a means.

It all started when I caught my first fish on a fly when I was 4 years old. I don’t remember much as a four-year old but I remember that fish. By my eighth year, I was always counting the days to the next fishing trip. I would spend my time reading Field and Stream or Outdoor Life, gleaning all I could about angling and faraway rivers and lakes I could hardly imagine ever going to.

There was always time to walk down to Claggett or Labish creeks to catch a cutthroat. One-day trips to the Little North Fork or Santiam Rivers with my parents and younger brother. These trips were great but the week long vacations spent on the Upper Deschutes or Williamson River (in Klamath County) were the real adventures. The occasional weekends spent on the Metolius River were special and became my favorite river to fish.

All these ventures as a boy led to my passion for fly fishing. As I grew older, I progressed from want to catch lots of fish to wanting to catch a big, difficult fish. This journey has taken me from casting to rising trout to swinging flies for steelhead and salmon.

It is said that a steelhead is a fish of a thousand casts. The tug is the drug and I’m addicted. Cast. Mend the line. Let the fly swing across, take two steps down and do it again. Some feel this boring and futile. I will admit to the futility at times but always knowing that tug might come at any instant. The adrenaline rush that follows makes it all worthwhile. Being able to land one of these fish, removing the fly and allowing the fish to return to the river is more than just satisfaction. The wonderment of the river and surroundings that make it all possible is both exhilarating and cathartic.

So this is my passion. A passion of serenity and rhythm. The peace of the surroundings and the motion of the cast. Of being one with the river and all it shares with me. The river is like life, always changing, never the same.

It has been a long journey from when I caught that first trout when I was 4 years old. The journey is what should be appreciated and learned from. In the following months, I hope to share some of my journey through my fishing life — good and bad, cold and warm, wet and dry. If you have a true passion, it doesn’t matter.