13 August 2011
However, this summer, I made a conscious decision to develop my fly-fishing skills. I wanted to do so because using this method of fishing can have a smaller impact on fish. Being a catch-and-release fisherman, I want the fish to swim away without any major damage.
In one way, the experiment lowered my impact right off the bat: I simply didn't catch as many fish this year. I'm more than okay with that though because I really like the getting-into-nature part of fishing best. In addition, the process of working on my casting gave the experience an extra bit of interest. Whenever I got off a good cast or accomplished something new, I felt great satisfaction (I was growing as an outdoorsperson).
Two days ago, I got the best reward. After hooking and failing to bring in a few fish and failing to hook numerous others, I finally brought in what I am calling my first fly-rod catch (I've caught some in the past, but I didn't really have to cast much in those cases--more like just throw the fly out there). The most satisfying part of the catch was the release: The barbless hook came right out, leaving a small hole in the front of the mouth, and the fish swam away instantly. All in all, it was a great result for my first summer of fly-fishing.
I'm glad I made the switch and can enjoy one of my favorite things while doing less damage to the environment than before. I still have some things to learn and practice, but if this summer is any indication, that will be part of the fun.