In a recent interview about Trxstle I was asked what I liked about fly fishing. I'm relatively new to it, having only done it a few years now. I hadn't taken a lot of time to really think about why I enjoyed the sport so much.
I tried comparing fly fishing to the other sports I enjoy, and there are some obvious connections. Being outside, cool gear, interesting environments and good people are all things you'll find in any outdoor community, but I don't think these things go far enough to keep a person coming back consistently.
So what is it about fly fishing that has captured my attention?
Listen to any top level athlete or sports program long enough and you'll eventually hear the word progression. People strive to be greater than they already are in the activities they love to do. This was the factor I settled on when I finally answered the question about why I liked fly fishing. The excitement you feel when you finally figure out how to consistently shoot line across a river is addicting. When you correctly identify a hatch for the first time, actually remembering the right knot for tying on your fly, what ever the success is, it's satisfying and you just want to have that feeling again. That satisfaction drives people to reach for ever higher goals, but what about those of us who, for what ever reason, don't pursue our interests to the highest level?
Adrenaline isn't the addiction, it's feeling the success.
I don't hear it often anymore, but people used to call all my favorite activities "adrenaline sports". I don't think anyone outside of fly fishing would put it in the adrenaline category. But, after you experience the bliss of landing your first big fish, I'll bet you'll change your mind. I still remember landing my first rainbow trout and how satisfying it was to hit all the movements and actions. I remember awkwardly figuring out how to hold my rod and properly release the fish I had just caught. And I remember seeing all the possibilities for improvement laid out before me at the end of the day. The excitement of seeing my skills improve, seeing them put to work, and seeing what I could work on next has kept me looking forward to every trip to the river.
Get back the excitement of being
a bumbling idiot new at something with a new activity.
I've been mountain biking and riding bikes since I was a little kid, it's always been my greatest passion in life. After doing an activity for so long, you reach a point where new skills and achievements come with higher risk. Riding steeper terrain, hitting bigger jumps, or even just getting faster on a particular line, you'll approach a level of consequence that isn't worth the potential pay out. Ultimately you have to decide where to channel the drive to achieve new things when your go-to sport stops providing an outlet.
If you love the outdoors you won't have to look far for new experiences. I found satisfaction in surfing, when my future wife taught me to stand up on a wave. I found it in a renewed love of skiing, when I moved across the country to start a family and found myself surrounded by some of the biggest mountains in the continental US. And I found it in fly fishing, when I became friends and eventually business partners with fellow Trxstle co-founder, John.