Looking isn’t the same as seeing…

It is extraordinary how an obsession forces attention to detail. I think of myself as a bit ‘big picture’ and not good with detail. I don’t enjoy the nitty gritty and I usually rely on those who do.

With fly fishing though, I’m increasingly peeling the onion and discovering new hidden layers of things to think and worry about. Fishing isn’t on the agenda today but I find myself with an unexpected hour to kill and as I have to virtually drive past the beat, I make a twenty minute detour!

I was on the Usk yesterday for a very early pre-breakfast session and although I catch a few, I struggle in the low clear water and strong downstream breeze. Today is a little more overcast and I’m now on a different beat, lower down the river valley and enjoying the humid late afternoon.

If fishing mirrored the rest of my life, I’d just jump in the river and start fishing. I don’t understand why it is, but I have more patience on the bank than in all other situations put together. Although I can see no fish, I’m convinced that if I sit and wait for long enough something, somewhere will rise. So I sit and wait.

I love watching rivers. If I’m minded, I can look with an intensity of concentration that usually eludes (thanks Mr P) me in other things. When I spend time on the bank with someone who doesn’t fish, I’m always surprised by what they don’t see, even when looking at it. Looking isn’t the same as seeing.

I notice a small dimple where none was, about twenty five feet from the bank and a little upstream. It’s not easy to spot as it’s in the middle of a ripple created by a stone, exposed by the low water. I’m tight against the bank with no back cast, so a make shift roll cast sends a size 18 Adams on it’s way.

The take is gentle and then the trout does some spectacular aerobatics before giving up. Not big but beautiful.

A glance at my watch reveals time has flown by and I need to make tracks. Spotting a hard to see trout is satisfying, but it also makes me wonder how much I miss when I’m just looking rather than seeing.

Mr Notherone

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