I planned out an entire day of Lowcountry fishing here in Charleston, SC. The goal was to have an action packed day on the water that would provide me with the content I would need to produce a great piece. The night before I packed enough gear to open my own fly shop, charged the camera batteries, set the alarm for zero dark thirty and several others after that to make sure I made it to the ramp on time. With a chorus of alarms going off, my wife and I were off into the darkness. We launched the boat with high hopes of what was supposed to be promising day of fishing, and then it happened. After hours and hours of staring across the marshes in search tails, movement, or any other sign of life. As the sun began to fade off to the west and our time on the water came to an end, we even resorted to blind casting. As the light faded we came to the realization that we got completely skunked. During the quiet drive home, I began thinking, now what do I write about? That's when it hit me, I’m going to write about not catching fish.
Its seems like all we see on social media, are the "good" moments of fishing. The monster fish followed by the hero shots, and the countless stories of how one had to walk 20 miles and make the impossible shot at a fish of a life time. What we don't see often, are people celebrating that day of nothing. I suppose this is rightfully so, it’s a hard to celebrate what many consider a failure, and it’s even harder to share that failure with the world. It's not a good feeling to set out with a goal and not achieve it.
I don’t know about you, but I personally start building up the hype in my mind well before I make it to the boat ramp. I begin picturing the fight of a lifetime, that personal best fish I could land, the epic shots I could get with a monster Red, the cheers and “high fives” with my friends. To build up this much anticipation and excitement in your mind, only to be completely shut down is a horrible feeling. But you know what? Isn’t that what keeps us coming back? The thought of what could be? That’s what keeps waking us up before the sun, to get into bone chilling water on a blistering cold day.
That’s what drives us to push our bodies to their limits, both physically and mentally, in search of that perfect fish or perfect section of water. It’s what drives us to constantly work to perfect our casts, presentation, knots, and to learn the water we fish better than the back of our hands. I will gladly take those days without fish because this is what drives me and keep me excited for my next opportunity to present my fly to the wondering red.