I am so thankful for when my mind gets to check out and hang up it’s “Gone Fishin’” sign. Being out on the water, luring the fish to my hook is the only time that my brain decides to take a reprieve and enter into a meditative state of mind. While fishing, I can feel the benefits that flyfishing has on my entire body— my blood pressure drops, my breathing slows and my muscles begin to relax with each flick of my line.
Listening to the water lap at my fishing wetsuit, the rustle of the breeze in the trees and the gentle kiss of fish lips on the water’s surface are the only things that fill the space between my ears. The repetitive movement of sending my fly over my shoulder and then out on the water is my only source of concentration.
The meditative state found while fishing is what keeps me sane when I have to get back in the car and shuttle my gear back home and brace going to work the next day. The thought of getting to return to my favorite fishing hole is what keeps me focused and determined throughout the week until I get to return to the water.
Even the act of preparing to go out fishing for the day is an act of meditation. Gathering the same tackle box that my dad used, testing the line on my pole, checking my gear to make sure that I will have everything that I need. Refill my drinking water jug, check the gas gauge, run through my mental checklist before driving to the river’s edge.
Fishing allows for me to practice patience and to find a rhythm that is not my own. My movements and actions cannot be forced because the fish will feel me willing them to my line. I have to work out an agreement with the fish that I wish to bring into my net. It is a conversation between me and my scaly aquatic friends that I can’t have with another human being.
I was introduced to fishing by my mentor and friend that wanted to share the comfort that he found on the water with me. I’ve thought about becoming a counselor or a fly fishing guide in an attempt to share this blissful feeling that I can get from my fishing meditation. It can be applied to many different sports and practices but some may argue that it cannot be taught. It is the experience of being in the outdoors and the harmonizing effect of nature that helps me to feel stable when my world feels full of chaos.
If I’ve had a bad day, you will likely find me on the river bank or traveling down a dirt road to get there. One earbud in listening to verbally guided meditations, one ear on the meditative hum of cicadas on the banks. Communing with the fish and being out in nature is the best way to clear my head of any troubles that I may have had– letting them travel downstream. I let myself fall in rhythm with each oar stroke, the deliberate pace of baiting the line, each dancing wave until all is right in the world once more.