Counting Days

There is a problem with our fly fishing community. In our beloved Colorado especially. When you talk to a skier about the ski season, they are quick to point out exactly how many days they have skied that year, and then what their average tends to be. It’s odd actually. Like guys bumping chests before a fist fight odd. For us hard working saps, it sounds like unabashed bragging, and I have to say, that’s exactly what it is. Sadly, over the years, I’ve heard this same mindless boasting from a few fly fisherpeople as well.

Pike before work? Put it on your list.

What happened to fly fishing being an intimidating art form only a few fringe members of society participated in to get away from the rest of the ordinary people? I’ll admit, we all have the tendency to gloat from time to time about certain aspects of our lives, and that is a mostly forgivable human error, but we should avoid this thoughtless crowing like the plague, or COVID 19.

Fish with your kids. They will someday inherit the earth.

And we Americans are the worst. We carry on about all our so-called achievements in relation to time. We pathetically have full conversations about how much overtime we work, how much time we spend away from our families, the amount of vacation days we haven’t used, followed by how burned out we are. So, are we supposed to feel sorry for ourselves, or proud? And we need to recognize that people from other countries pity us. Mexicans indulge in afternoon siestas and Italians have their “La dolce far niente,” and there are books for us we won’t have time to read on the subject of relaxation because we are working ourselves into a fine pulp. Sure, we go through our short phases of meditation, but fall off the wagon when something shiny flashes through our field of vision. Some people I’ve worked with in the past have said to me, “Man, I’m tired of working these 60 hour weeks.” Yeah? Well no shit.

Chasing wipers and walleyes before work.

There is a mantra I’ve said to myself since I was young and entering the suicidal pace of the working world. “Nobody says on their death bed they wish they’d had spent more time at work.” This phrase comes to me on the water, when I’m playing old man softball on Monday nights, or teaching my kids card games, which requires much patience. But it gets me through the crazy times when deadlines loom, and I get the feeling someone, somewhere out there is professionally passing me by. This person is created by my own insecure brain and exists in some futuristic game of Tron where I’m trying not to fuck up, ruin my career, and become an addict yelling at myself on Colfax.

Native trout are typically hard to get to. Native Green Sunfish? Not so hard, yet electric in coloration.

These days we not only count the days we are working our souls into the ground, we have sadly decided to count the days we fish as well, setting even loftier unhealthy goals for ourselves. What happens if you don’t hit the water as much as you did last year? Are you less of a fisherman? Are you going to sell all your gear and god forbid, start sharpening your golf game? Then you’d just start counting that. Why can’t we just enjoy the time we get? If you are going out to the river just to notch another day onto your wading belt, you are out there for the wrong reasons my friend.

Local ponds are for lunch breaks. Caught about twenty bluegill and a few bass in less than an hour here.

Maybe it would be wise to make fishing more of a leisurely past time, like reading, or bird watching, or meditating, versus the adrenaline-fueled meat fest we constantly see on social media. I’m the first to admit I want to hook into a big fish once in a while, but there are options like carp in just about every neighborhood pond if you want to see if your backing still exists. And I have to believe that an hour at lunch on a bass pond counts as a “day” for those of you counting, so let’s remember why we took up the sport in the first place. Learning something new and beautiful and experiencing that beauty in extraordinarily appealing locations (okay, maybe not the Rapist Pond).

Exotic Pumpkinseed bluegill.

Now, let us not count the days of fishing, but the quality of fishing in our days, whether it be a singular float trip to Montana, three hundred days of guiding clients on the Texas flats for redfish, or five afternoons catching bluegills with your kids after school. It’s all relative. It’s all fishing. It’s all good.

Published by willbarch78

I grew up in the middle of nowhere Texas. The nearest Walmart was a full two hours away. My family still runs a ranch back home that I grew up on, but at some point in my treasured youth I hung up the idea of becoming a cowboy, and pursued my passion for architecture. Today I still find myself trying to fit in to a life that has treated me with the average ups and downs one can expect after a certain number of years. My wife and I moved to Denver after attending Texas Tech School of Architecture in Lubbock as we needed a grade change from the Llano Estacado. We camp with our three growing girls all summer and into the fall while I write and create and fly fish to maintain sanity. Life is moving fast as our careers and children progress in all areas, so being outdoors with each other keeps us mostly grounded.

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