Feel is an intrinsic part of fishing, especially fly-fishing.
First, there is the physical sense of feeling — touching the real stuff and, well, the “reel” stuff.
You begin a fly-fishing outing by literally stripping line off your reel, as you have done countless times.
You may have a favorite fly-fishing reel, one that is beautiful as well as utilitarian.
This can remind you of a second kind of feeling: just how much beauty there is around you.
That’s one of the never ending benefits of fly-fishing.
Then there are the moments, memories — feelings — that always seem to circle back.
I’m grateful for these, but I have not always been.
When you are younger, you experience life so differently from when you have racked up the miles on your odometer (an odometer you can’t unwind, only interpret with time).
This is not a bad thing, if you are looking at it in a stratified and nonjudgmental way.
So time, as much as your sense of things, is largely a feeling.
But it happens, whether you are aware of it or not.
This is one of the most awesome but misunderstood and seemingly unnoticed of our experiences — the primal feeling of where you are, when you are there.
You know this, intrinsically.
Again, the feel of things:
Just look at the cork grip on your fly rod.
You physically feel it each time you grip it, but quickly become unaware of it.
I am not a fly rod designer or creator, don’t pretend to be, and have only thanks and compliments for those who are — so I just say the cork handle, no matter its shape or condition, is something we fly fishers, well, handle on each outing.
But then I see how my right hand holds my fly rod just as I am about to cast.
There is a sense of anticipation, almost expectation.
I can hear fly line cutting through the air with its own unique rhythm and sound.
I see the place where I hope there are fish, where I am going to cast my fly.
There is an expectation.
It is wonder-filled.
It’s all about the feeling.
Maybe I will see you on the water.