It’s December and the start of meteorological winter. More to the point for me, I finally moved my trusty car fly rod (the one I keep with me just in case) out of my car and onto its rack inside the garage. That’s not to say a stretch of warm weather might not call it back into impromptu service, but in all likelihood my fishing is done until sometime in April.
More than the first snowflakes of the season, calling it quits on fly angling is the cruelest cut that this time of year delivers. To be honest, my car rod (any rod for that matter) hadn’t been cast since late October. Weather and circumstances conspired to hog all my available possible angling time; but it’s the idea that the end has finally come and that days on or beside the water are done is a psychological blow. It’s my version of seasonal affective disorder. For me it’s not the lack of sunlight, it’s the long weeks of not fishing and grumping around until that opportunity comes around again.
A friend recently offered the comparison between my profession and my passion in that, as with fishing, public relations involves a lot of time casting likely lure in hopes of provoking some interest and eliciting a bite. He made the comment after realizing he’d told a media figure he was working with that he hoped he’d been able to “set the hook” on a story he’d offered.
It’s an apt metaphor, I suppose. As a fly angler I find that success comes when I am most in tune with my environment and, through years of experience and careful observation I can put the fly I believe will be the most effective in the exact place I believe it will be the most effective. It also gives me the best shot at landing a specific fish.
For me the great satisfaction I gain from both angling and PR is in the thoughtful process of taking in the information I need to make my best presentation. Meticulous preparation and execution doesn’t always mean success, but it does make the experience more gratifying—especially when there’s a take.
Just because a fish has risen to the fly, however, doesn’t mean I’ll always be able to slip the net underneath and hoist it over the gunwale. Every angler has stories of “the one that got away.” And every such story is one that motivates the teller to get back at it and try again.
As they say, “That’s why it’s called fishin’ and not catchin’.”