Fish stories top the golf tales
October 27, 2005
Fishing is one of those hobbies in which you can become truly engrossed. The other day I had a co-worker of mine say something that was really an eye opener for me. He said that he never heard golfers talk about golf the way that fishermen talk about fishing.
I had to think about that for a moment and I had to think about my golf-playing buddies. At the risk of offending them, you know he was really right! Fly fishermen talk about anything and everything related to their sport.
Conversations could be about what insects are hatching, the water conditions, the weather, the time of day that the best fishing occurred and, finally, how good or bad the fishing is. In defense of my golfing buddies, they do talk about their respective sport, but their conversations do not usually go far afield like conversations about fly fishing.
Why is that?
My take on it is that golf, which is the single hardest sport that I have played, involves hitting a ball into a hole using the fewest number of strokes. So why is it that I do not hear as many people talk about their golfing experiences the way that fly fishermen talk about their sport?
The obvious one from my experience is that my golf conversations usually involve how nice or how hard the course was, and how well you had played. Not wanting to let on just how bad you are limits the conversation. My theory is that because there are more high-handicap golfers than scratch golfers, conversations are usually short in nature. This is a game that involves quite a bit of physical skill and an immense amount of practice for you to become truly good.
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Fly fishing for these same people can be quite rewarding. Even beginning fly fishers have the opportunity to catch a fish. Fishing, it seems, involves skill, but it is not a requisite to catch a fish. Truly skillful anglers are like any good athlete at their sport. The difference is that a good fisherman can be out-fished by a beginner or intermediate angler because of the element of luck. I know that a good golfer can be beat because of the handicap, but they will practically never beat a scratch golfer without it.
My theory is that this puts fly fishermen on a more equal basis with the good anglers in their field. As a result they are more likely to talk about their fishing experiences at great length. There are also a number of great excuses that fly fisherman can employ as to why they did not catch a fish. It is hard to blame that hook or slice on anything other than one’s own ineptness. Are you getting the picture?
Even good anglers can get “skunked.” So anglers talk to other anglers about how well they did or how poorly they did; there is nothing to feel self conscious about. We have lots of built-in excuses as well. There were no hatches, the weather was too nice, the moon was too bright, I did not get there at the right time, the water was too high or low, or too hot or cold, and, the best one is, not having the right fly. Actually, there are more, too!
So maybe that old adage that a bad day fishing is better than and good day of work (or golf) has some merit. Maybe this helps explain in part the reason that fly fisherman talk so much about their sport.