Fly Fishing for Trout Home
User Password
or register.
Scientific name search:

> > That which can not be explained...., Page 2

MartinlfJanuary 26th, 2007, 12:53 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3228
I'll say this once, since the previous material is posted publicly, then let Jason decide what to do next.

It is my humble opinion that private matters should be handled privately, via PM. If one needs to PM someone who has posted, or Jason, in order to deal with a private issue, feel free to do so, but we should all avoid poisioning the well.

I generally have enjoyed this thread, and appreciate the views of those who have posted on it, whether or not I agree with them. If it slips into a personal matter, it will no longer hold my interest.

I believe that it is critical to the well-being of the community of anglers who post here that we all strive to be agreeable, especially when we disagree, and to try to repair the damage if we slip.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
TroutnutJanuary 26th, 2007, 1:12 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
I'm not going to weigh in on the argument in public, but I would prefer that everybody restrict personal conflicts to private messages here. That way no unsuspecting third parties get mixed up in them.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
AftonAnglerJanuary 26th, 2007, 1:55 pm
Brule, WI

Posts: 49
I will say this and then I will let it rest. It is personal when someone attacks you.

I would not post personal problems without cause. I post on this board as someone who puts their information out there. I back up what I say and what I beleive.

Again, I apologize for the digression. Please understand that I have attempted to handle this in a private manner until now.

Done deal.

Now for the comments I promised:

I have mearly cut and pasted some of my favorite ones from the last couple of days. Enjoy.

I have not yet found the joy of that which you speak while fishing. Many years ago, while rediscovering the me that was placed in a little box on the shelf of my mothers home while "in the service of my country" I found the sport of Fencing. While fencing is a very physical sport, demanding extreme levels of hand eye coordination, and the conditioning of long distance runners (because some of the tournaments are 16 hours per day and 3 days long), it is also a mental game. I fenced the weapon called Epee, which is modeled after dueling swords of old and every spot on the body is legal target. I found that I could occasionally reach that "zone" in which all movement of your opponent is telegraphed to your brain, seemingly before the movement is actually made, allowing a lightning repost for point. When this "space" is reached, time slows down, brain processing speeds increase dramatically, and its almost as if you can read your opponents soul through his eyes. The air becomes fluid and it is noticable in its movements into, out of, and around your opponent's body. Being in this place would allow me to pick out patterns in his attacks and defences that he himself may not have realized he had. There was one bout I remember, against the (at that time) Russian national champion in Madison Square Garden in 1973. I had fought Mr Hookorwsky (sp. I don't spell in Russian very well) on 3 previous occasions and had been soundly thrashed on each, 5-0, 5-1, 5-0. I had scored one point against him in 3 meetings. On this particular day I had fought and won 11 straight bouts when I was called to the strip. Today I can still vividly recall every attack, advance, retreat, extension, perry and repost and every point. The official score was 5-4 but in fencing the epee, double touches past 4 are eliminated in the final score. We went 11 straight double touches before I actually got a single touch to the bottom of his right wrist for the final point. Mr Hookorwski was much much much better than I. I can only claim that victory, I believe, because I got into that "zone" and could preact to his speed.

It's mystical when it happens. In my analog world Dailed In is the appropriate expression. Don't know what it would accurately be called in your digital world.

High-stick nymphing is when it happens to me. Hook sets on Ghost fish; sometimes I set as the fish takes the fly, not after. Creeps out my fishing partner.

It rarely happens when Tarpon fishing but when it does...***shudder***.

From my story Going After Tarpon:

There is an onrushing feeling that something will show themselves and this feeling can best be described as an awareness, sudden and powerful. You have an awareness that something is about to happen and it does.

Great read, Brad.

Yeah, probably won't get too many responses on this thread because of the "trip out" factor, but I can recall a day bowhunting when all of a sudden I see (in my mind) a deer trail and I'm moving along it. I didn't will this vision into my bean, it just sort of popped on like a television with crystal clarity. Anyway, just about to the split-second that "I" crest the trail and come into view of my stand, a fairly nice buck appears - right in the spot that I was seeing in my mind. To be perfectly honest, it sorta creeped me out. I thought, "Jeesh, if I stick this critter, am I in essence sticking it to myself?" Thankfully, that thought was fleeting and quickly replaced with, "Aaaaah, f**k it, you're waaaay dead, my mentally connected furry friend." Needless to say, I converted him into venny steaks and chops.

As far as fishing goes, I've had days where I was all thumbs, and other days when the fish - pretty much all of them - didn't stand a snowball's chance. Sort of that zoney-Danny Noonan-be-the-ball deal.
Personally, I welcome those rare days when I catch even the fish I don't deserve to catch.

I've hit this state of mind a couple of times. The first was on an open ended trip to Montana. The rock creek treated me well. This state or Tao if you will happens only after leaving whoever I am fishing with. I have never really experienced it in the presence of another. I believe it has to do with the sense of being one with your surroundings. The river feels different at this point in time. It no longer squeezes at you through your waders, it glides by with out a hug. You are not just in it waving a stick, you become part of it almost to the point of being liquid.

My rock creek experience with this was fishing ants and hoppers. I see the water differently. Micro currents and eddies stick out, seems say here I am. In these moments there are no hang ups, no snags on opposite banks, no slips on rocks, just fishing.

Having no outside noise pollution besides the river and the sounds of insects and animals helps me gain this sense. With nothing to distract I become focused and allow myself to enter. I don't want to make it sound like I can will it to happen because that is definately not the case or I would put myself there all the time because it is nice.

One other place where this occurs is fishing the hex hatch in central wisconsin. This is a way different experience. I get there early when possible and take my time getting rigged up. I fish with two other guys for this and we bullsht over a couple of beers and Bob Uecher calling the brewers game. We make our way down to the river to claim a short stretch for the night and wait. I don't fish a nymph before the sun goes down, I ussually take this time to understand my surroundings and read a little water. Casts are made to orientate myself with overhanging grass and brush, then I sit and wait for the magic to happen.

Stage is set, this is where it happens. Like 7pines said I enter a tripped out state. I know there is others in the river, my buddies are a stones throw away and it goes against what I said earlier, but when darkness and the spinners start to fall everything changes. After a cry of "there here" my world changes. My senses become hightened. Sound is the best, individual wing beats of the hex can be heard. Slurps and splashes of fish can be pinpointed. I mean pinpointed. When you hit this zone or state you can visualize the size of the fish. I feel I can predict its next rise. You get this eerie sense. I wait, no rhyme or reason just wait and then cast and boom hookup. Writing this makes me smile.
Bugs land on your face I always think the females will deposit eggs into my eyes "tripped out I know" but that thought is there. You have been standing in one place for so long casting to risers your feet have become buried and trout are using you as a current break slurping and gurgling bugs on either sides of your legs. Amazing!

Now I am just rambling....these are the couple of times I have reached this beutiful place.
i hope everyone can experience this sometime

Not sure about all of the different plane of existence stuff, but there are certainly days where everything just seems to click. Casts are perfect, drifts are great, mends can't miss fish come from exactly where they should be and the whole experience just seems to take on an entirely different level. I love those days, do everything I can to be aware of those moments and strive for them on the off days. I usually find that if I slow down, take a break for ten minutes to watch the water and kind of lose focus I can find that place alot of the time. There's nothing worse than just not having your A game when the fish are cooperating.

Oddly enough I was also going to say that its similar to the feeling that I get bowhunting when you just get that feeling about how things are going to happen.

I only do that so that I can see the loops I'm making well after I've shot the cast.

I have yet to attain this zone. Of course it's pursuit is what holds my attention, I agree completely that you feel more connected using your own ties. Perhaps this is all perception but is a perceived reality less real? This is the lure of fly fishing I think, certainly you could catch more and larger fish back hooking minnows sitting on a bucket but then you may as well go buy a fish at the grocery store. I do know that I require much more time to investigate, explore, and enlighten.

It only happens if they're biting. Then, even the rocks are beautiful.

On a very small portion of a medium sized river, many of you know it my friends, there is a spot or two where I think I know the name and address of each resident brown trout. I can't seem to help myself, when the fly is taken, I laugh. I have fooled Mr. Cutbank! Can you even believe it? Me! Ms. Fool-For-Trout!

But if they are not biting, any thought of metaphysical connection is null. They do not answer the door. I knock and they lay in their beds with their fins over their eyes and ignore me. Is this love? I think not.

"This is a hybrid. This is a cross of Bluegrass...Kentucky Bluegrass, Featherbed Bench, and Northern California Sinsemilla. The amazing stuff about this is that you can play 36 holes on it in the afternoon, take it home and just get stoned to the bejeezus belt that night on this stuff."

"It's a little harsh."

"You're over there on Briar...Thanks for the dope."

- Bill Murray

It's not drugs.

The only mind-altering drug I have ever succumbed to was the whiff of Chanel #5 emminating from the décolletage of a former paramour while trysting and that was, ...lap altering than mind altering.

But this awareness or Zone is just as powerful. It just happens; wierd.

It's interesting how everyone defines it. For me it's probably not something that is beyond physical or anything like that... it just feels like everything is working. Awareness, body, mind, intent... all of it working and not at cross purposes. Firing on all cylinders and the timing is correct (block and points for the analog world, electronic ignition for the digital world). And pretty much nothing you can do to make it happen except get into what you're doing. But that wierd stuff does seem to happen...

I have been been in that strange place where I act without really thinking. I become extremely efficent in my casting and presentation. I'll snap out of it, usually on my knees in the middle of the river, when my brother snaps a photo of me from the bank. Its that wierd place between human/hunter/predator for me. I never know when its going to happen, but when it does its magical. My best "stalks" of spooky trout always happen when i get that look in my eye and become immersed in the moment.

As for jah green.....I think every rock is a snapping turtle or that there is a bear around every bend when Ive done that in the past.. No more of that stuff for me. I'll stick to cold beer and cashews.

I used to get that feeling when I grouse hunted without a dog (hunting with a dog, it's usually obvious when a flush is about to happen). As the season would go on, I'd have a sense of how many birds I'd flush on a good day, and a good sense of the best micro cover. Sometimes I'd just know I was about to flush one. Fun feeling.


Hey everyone - thanks for the thoughts. I am impressed with the variety of interpretations...

What happened to Zoanr's post on his zone when fencing? That was some really cool stuff!!

I am not suprised that some of you think this is an acid trip or the result of bong hits or something to that end. I will say this is about a different 'altered' state and a pure one.

Yes, bowhunting can really bring on a very high level of awareness too. I have been there while stalking with my recurve in the past as well. That is another story but a good relation.

Tannin gets his fix in the grouse woods and I can see that too...

I think this is very important stuff to communicate and to share. That is why I am looking for others experiences to help me with researching this topic. I will be pushing the boundaries of what is being written and printed about the outdoor experience and of the Blood Sports. It is high time to put out an alternative view. No pun intended!

The non angling public should get a slice of the spiritual side of this passion. What is out there that REALLY makes us tick. I am all for the big dripping fish experiences but know darn well that having a full net sack is far from what keeps us so devoted to this pursuit.

Again, thank you for sharing your experiences with me and please keep them coming. Very enjoyable!

That might go a long way toward making non-hunters (and non-fishermen) and anti-hunters understand and respect the sport. In the course of the evolution of man, we were hunter gatherers for a year, farmers for an hour, and industrialists for a minute. The hunting urge is still there, whether most people realize it or not. As much as I love a walk in the woods, I never feel as in tune as when I hunt and fish.

I've raised two daughters, and the oldest turned 25 this past spring. She has awakened over the past several years to the beauty of the outdoors and the cycles of nature, and has gotten quite involved in outdoor activities - hiking, etc. mostly. Probably a year or so ago we were talking about the differences between her interests and mine, and I told her I always felt better connected while pursuing something than when I was just out observing -- that I'd rather fish or hunt than just canoe or hike. She said she felt sorry for me.

Last summer, just before she left to work an Americorps job counting salmon in the Klamath basin for the California Fish & Game department, we got a chance to overnight on the Wisconsin river on a canoe trip. Of course I brought my rods, and she had the opportunity to fish again for probably the first time since she discovered boys at age 13. We had some luck, she caught some fish, and we ended up having a nice dinner from a couple of walleyes.

I think my daughter finally understands now. By active participation in fishing or hunting we become part of the natural cycle itself. I wonder if millions of years of human evolution have embedded something deep within our DNA that we reconnect to by participating this way. I know I enjoy both passive and active outdoor activities, but I can't say I've ever been "in the zone" without pursuit involved. I think my daughter now feels sorry for folks that haven't had that opportunity.

Brad- I call it "being alive in the 360". Still, I don't feel exactly as you do. Can anyone say they do?

At the best times, I'm alert to the scent of the woods and water, the feel of the dampness in the air, the cold water chattering over the rocks. My eyes take in the rise-forms or shadows of fish in the water, insects on or above the water, reflections of the trees, the sun and clouds. Clues to what may hatch are found in the streamside plants and flowers. I hear the song of the water, certainly, but also may discern the scream of a hawk. (hawk sound links)

A rustling in the trees might evolve into the sight of a deer taking a sip of clear water before crossing upstream.

And my emotions color the whole experience. The pounding heart belies a sense of doubt, or maybe just hope when the reel starts to sing. Am I angler enough to land this fish? A metallic taste accompanies both fishless days and hooking myself; the taste of humility and frustration. Yes, I know my place in the food chain and our supposed spot in evolution, but here is what I wonder: Am I the fox or the rabbit? The fox runs for his lunch, but the rabbit runs for his life. Sometimes I fish to eat, but very rarely. Much more often I fish for the restorative power of being alive in the 360, being aware of what is above, below and all around. I fish to ask questions as well as to answer them. I fish to breathe in and out.
See you on the Water.

Brad Bohen

The Afton Angler
TroutnutJanuary 26th, 2007, 2:05 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
Thanks Brad. I cleaned up the HTML a bit for readability on that post... you're welcome to re-edit if you don't like how it came out.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
MartinlfJanuary 26th, 2007, 4:54 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3228
Brad, thanks for sharing these posts. As a person who knows some people from tribes in the area, and who also has read a lot of Native American literature, in my best moments of fly fishing I do find the same kind of respect for nature that both have shared with me. As fragmented and imperfect as my experiences are in life, being on the stream offers me hints and guesses of the great spirit, whatever that may be, within myself, or somewhere out there.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Upnorth2January 27th, 2007, 4:59 am

Posts: 62
I do find the mixing of New Age thinking and culturally stolen Native American spiritual thinking interesting but nothing that has not been said before. Most Native American do feel it is a cultural theft. I have enough friends who are in Native Lodges to know how they see would see this. Some people are wired that way for this I guess. So I disagree with it in fly fishing....many others do as well. Do your own thing with this. Comments are comments.

Anyway good reads here.

TroutnutJanuary 27th, 2007, 7:55 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
I just deleted a couple replies. Like I said, take the personal stuff to private messages if at all.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
TrowpaJanuary 27th, 2007, 6:22 pm
Eastern PA

Posts: 31
Interesting thread - I don't really have much to add here as we all have our own spiritual beliefs, but i want to share an observation I heard once and has stuck with me for years - i find all too true many times in my own life:

"Some men go to church and think about fishing. Others go fishing and think about God."

TroutnutJanuary 27th, 2007, 9:37 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
"Some men go to church and think about fishing. Others go fishing and think about God."

I go fishing and think about fish. :)

If I went to church, I would think about fish there too.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
DneuswangerJanuary 30th, 2007, 9:27 pm
Site Editor
Hayward, Wisconsin

Posts: 7
This post and most of the replies have been quite interesting. Going back to what my friend Brad posted originally, I have a slightly different "take" on the spiritual or metaphysical aspect of fishing than has been discussed so far...

To truly understand where I'm going with this, one must read Robert Pirsig's book entitled "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." Before you dismiss this as a kooky diversion, consider that Pirsig's book was devoted entirely to the phenomenon of which Brad wrote. The book wasn't really about motorcycle maintenance. Pirsig could just as easily have used fly fishing examples to make his points about the pursuit of human fulfillment.

Pirsig basically took a long, sometime tedious journey into the nature of QUALITY. He explored the merits and rewards of objective reasoning and technical achievement. (In the world of fly fishing, this would include the scientific understanding of aquatic insects and the technology involved in imitating those creatures and presenting their imitations flawlessly.) Pirsig also explored the nature of subjectivity and intuition. (In the world of fly fishing, this would include the subconscious "a priori" decisions about which reach to fish on a given evening, which current seam to drift, and how to "Be The Trout" as one popular webmaster might put it!) Pirsig's underlying theme was that most folks naturally lean one way or the other in their approach to life, and this causes them to feel unfulfilled -- that often they find themselves MISSING something.

With objectivity and subjectivity defined, Pirsig demonstrates how the pursuit of BALANCE between the objective and the subjective allows one to approach what he called QUALITY. Zen Buddhists call it Karma. The more closely one approaches that state of balance, the more fulfilling their experience. In flyfishing for trout, there is something special about blending one's technical knowledge, tools, and ability with one's creative intuition about the natural world in which we evolved to achieve a goal (the outwitting of a wild trout) in the most technically elegant manner possible. Not that I know how to do this, mind you. I'm a hacker with a fly rod. But I understand what Pirsig was getting at, and I think it's at the heart of what makes flyfishing so special for those who have taken the time to master the tangible and tap the intangible aspects of it. Getting "in the zone" as Brad put it may be nothing short of experiencing the "karma" of Zen Buddhists or the "quality" of Robert Pirsig -- a rare opportunity to approach, if only for a few moments, a state of perfect balance between reason and intuition in harmony with our natural environment.
Dave Neuswanger
a.k.a. the Troutnut's Dad
Retired Fisheries Supervisor, Wisconsin DNR
GONZOJanuary 30th, 2007, 9:59 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
...a rare opportunity to approach, if only for a few moments, a state of perfect balance between reason and intuition in harmony with our natural environment.

I'll buy that. Thanks, Dave.
AftonAnglerFebruary 16th, 2007, 11:53 am
Brule, WI

Posts: 49
Father of TroutNut

You are right on.

A wise man and a keen observer.

Thanks for the insight. I'll have to check out that book...
See you on the Water.

Brad Bohen

The Afton Angler
The_SibMarch 14th, 2007, 5:50 pm
Bloomfield, NJ

Posts: 4
Can you relate?

I Grok

Quick Reply

You have to be logged in to post on the forum. It's this easy:
Username:          Email:

Password:    Confirm Password:

I am at least 13 years old and agree to the rules.

Related Discussions

TitleRepliesLast Reply
Re: Anyone up for a western Alaska float trip?
In General Discussion by Sinktip555
3Jan 2, 2021
by Wbranch
Re: Fly line recommendation for bamboo rod
In Gear Talk by Yetsuhfrank
6Feb 19, 2016
by Partsman
Re: Yearly Hatches
In General Discussion by Gary
1May 16, 2008
by Vermonter
Re: Beetle ID
In Hydrophilidae Beetle Adult by DMM
1Nov 20, 2006
by Troutnut
Re: new to the forum
In General Discussion by Brookie207
2Dec 26, 2009
by Lastchance
"Comfort fishing"...a.k.a. the hometown lake
In the Photography Board by Jmd123
Re: Some Tough News for TroutNut Family
In General Discussion by Oldredbarn
4Jul 31, 2011
by Softhackle
Re: Upper Delaware......
In by Al514
6Sep 22, 2008
by Martinlf
Re: Jonathon is looking for a new job & here's an example
In General Discussion by Jmd123
3Jun 22, 2022
by Adirman
Re: The Atherton Boys
In Fly Tying by Catskilljon
8Mar 4, 2014
by Catskilljon
Most Recent Posts
Blue Ridge, GA fishing?
In General Discussion by MikeT1990
Re: Green midge larvae?
In General Discussion by Simon77777 (Wiflyfisher replied)
Re: Hiking boots for wading - any tips?
In Gear Talk by Bigfootry (MikeT1990 replied)
Re: Newb - first setup?
In General Discussion by Greg728 (MikeT1990 replied)