Thursday, November 20, 2008

When you're in the Fishing Zone

Dan Baughman fishing
There's nothing like it.
When you cast your lure up beside that log along the shoreline, or drop your jig overboard feeling for the bottom, you leave the world of fluctuating stock markets and sub-prime mortgage fiascos and enter a different dimension. You could call it the Fishing Zone.
And when you're in the zone your head is so far from Wall Street that you lose track of time and space.
In the Far East they would call it meditation.
In the North we call it fishing.
The principles are the same. Concentrate to the point of exclusion of other stimuli. It takes years of training to meditate well but it comes quickly when you start fishing.
Some of it comes from necessity. If you aren't giving your cast your full attention your lure ends up in the trees. If you drag your lure across the bottom you get snagged.
Before long your mind is visualizing underwater structures that you are getting your lure next to without entangling your hooks into them.
After a bit you can also imagine the fish: they're lying at the base of a mound of underwater boulders or cruising a steep drop off in search of prey or lying in shadows watching for bait to come swimming out of a patch of weeds.
Soon you become aware of other little things: the way the waves are ever-so-slightly disturbed by a hidden reef, a couple of minnows jumping, a little line of mud in the water -- all things that could lead to fish.
Eventually your sense of touch becomes heightened. Your fishing rod becomes an extension of your hand and its line connects you to the unseen world below the surface. You become adept at differentiating between the slow grip of weeds and the more sudden bite of a fish, the bumping of the bottom and the rat-a-tat-tat of a perch.
The wind that at first caused you so much consternation as it blew you every way but the one you wanted to go now becomes an ally. You let it move you silently along and adapt your fishing presentation to meet its speed and direction.
You hear the calls of terns as they plunge into the lake catching minnows and you know that there are fish catching minnows in that place too.
You smell the rain coming long before clouds can be seen.
And then your buddy says, "You want to head in for supper?" and you realize that in what seemed like only a moment, the entire afternoon has passed.
And you smile and reply, "Yeah, I'm hungry as a bear!"

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