Maybe it was the morning light dancing along the river’s surface or the water softly lapping at my knees. Maybe it was the gentle breeze carrying the sweet pine smell through the valley or the tug on the line that allured me. Something in that early morning made me transfixed. Entranced. Mesmerized. Hypnotized. It was my first time fly fishing, and with every cast, I knew it would not be the last.

From that moment on, my fly boxes were bursting with stoneflies, copper johns, scuds, RS2s, and sex dungeons. My gear closet started to fill up with rods, reels, waders, leaders, tippet, and nets. The dining room table became a permanent fly tying station. Dust gradually accumulated on bike gloves, riding shoes, and skis and eventually, all gear from previous sports and hobbies became veiled under the fly fishing stockpile. Like a marmot diligently caching delicious grasses and flowers for the long winter, I was meticulously accumulating and storing all possible fly fishing elements for years to come. I became obsessed – fixated on the art of fly fishing.

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Photo by Benjamin Kraushaar

Four years have sailed by since I first picked up the rod. Four years with moments of defeat and flashes of victory. My fable with fly fishing contains an overgrown path full of hurdles and obstacles. I’ve been snagged on failure and humiliated by disastrous knots; I’ve been sheepish with my disgraceful casts and humbled by nymphing; I’ve been setback by unfavorable weather conditions and defeated by the waters. Some days, with dissuasion and frustration, I put the rod down and go home with my tail between my legs. But like most relentless anglers, I’m cursed with the hypnotic spell. My refusal to deliver a fly is short-lived, and I always, unapologetically, return to the water with rod and reel in hand.

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Photo by Benjamin Kraushaar