Though revelations usually come to us as a shock, you can calmly recognize and interpret them.
Such introspective insight often occurs when you are manipulating a fly at the end of a long leader with a fly rod and fly line.
Having taught fly-fishing classes and guided many a fisherman – men and women – over the years, I discovered, well, discovery.
It’s delightful, but often hard-earned and hard-won – pretty much like anything else we humans do.
One discovery of mine was that teaching – sharing your expertise and knowledge – often works in reverse order: you learn as much from your students as they might from you.
For example, when I began teaching fly-fishing to community college students, I did not understand why they did not understand how to set a strike to catch a fish on a fly.
It took quite a few on-water outings for me to realize, vividly (a revelation here), that most of the students learned how to fish with spinning rods, bait casters, etc., where you can feel the fish take the bait.
A cloud-clearing moment was when one student looked at me and said, “But I don’t feel the fish.”
The student was right, and I was right as well trying to explain with consistency and a bit of urgency, “Didn’t you see the take?” After all, you want your students to succeed!
This transfer of perception can be difficult, and fly-fishing can provide that revelatory platform.
You go from the actual feel of a fish’s take to seeing it. (Stream fishers know this is a different story; I will get to that another time.)
So, I realized that what I used to assume about fish catching with spinning gear really did not apply to fly angling.
Simply, I learned something about what I already knew.
I just had to recognize it and share it in a way I and others did not then fully appreciate.
Oh, the serendipity of the fly-fishing life.
Maybe I’ll see you out on the water.