Fly fishing as therapy.

I didn’t have the greatest of weeks last week. I’m trying to finish a PhD and I’ve got this one little bit of lab work that needs to be done before that can happen. Last week I was up in Canberra getting ready to knock of the last of the lab work and break the back of the PhD so to speak. Once thats out of the way its just a bit of writing and I can hand the damned thing in and move on with my life.

Bass water
Bass water. Sadly no bass 🙁

Needless to say things didn’t go to plan. Stuff hadn’t arrived, so I couldn’t actually get anything done. I spent the week twiddling my thumbs doing the bits of work I could do and slowly spiralling into a vicious cycle of negativity. By the end of the week I was in a proper hole. I was real negative, the world was f***ed, everything was f***ed. I was’t in the best of head spaces, in fact I was in a pretty bleak place. I did’t even have the dog around to cheer me up on the regular. So what to do when life gets you down and your away from home, the dog and your significantly better other half? Well there is really only one answer for me, go fly fishing. Preferably with good mates.

So it was decided. After drinking beers way to fast at Friday arvo drinks at uni, Lee and Perrin picked me up and we headed up to Robertson. As soon as I was in the car the black cloud started lifting. Some fishing talk, some life talk, some shit talk and the problems I’d been dwelling on all week started retreating further and further back into the recesses of my mind. We arrived at around 10pm and did what you do at 10pm with an early start planned the next day. We went fishing in the dam next door and had an impromptu one fly comp. I chose a mouse pattern because obviously that is what little stocker dam rainbows are gonna want at night right? We fished for a few hours. Surprisingly the mouse pattern didn’t work but Perrin inexplicably picked up a fish on a streamer to win the comp. He got really lucky there after making the mistake of tying on something that wasn’t a mouse fly. Despite being incredibly unlucky during the one fly (how those fish resisted that big size one mouse pattern I’ll never know), all the problems of my week, all the negativity had been lifted. We headed back to the cabin a little after midnight to grab a couple of hours sleep before getting up at 5 to chase bass the next morning. My mood had done a complete 180. I was content for the first time that week. Heck I felt pretty damned good.

Carp on a 4 inch streamer! F*** yes.
Carp on a 4 inch streamer! F*** yes.
Stalking stockers rising in the shallows
Stalking stockers rising in the shallows
Got him.
Got him.
Feisty fat bows.
Feisty fat bows.
Perrin releasing another fish on his articulated nymph pattern.
Perrin releasing another fish on his articulated nymph pattern.

The next days fishing was fun. We unsuccessfully chased bass in the morning. We only got one fish for our efforts, a feisty streamer eating carp. Carp are a lot of fun on the fly rod. A lot of fun. The afternoon was spent back at the stocked dam where we had a ball catching lots of little fat half pound rainbows on dry flies and various wets. Perrin’s articulated nymph was the stand out. At four when we headed back to Canberra and I was “better”. Fly fishing had worked its healing magic once again. I’d got to escape, I’d got some much needed time being spiritual, in touch with nature and all that jazz. All my problems had melted away, they had been put into perspective. The negativity had gone and had been replaced by that feeling you can’t quite describe that happens after you go fly fishing. That feeling that makes everything in your life that little bit better. Maybe its feeling like you’ve been part of something bigger. Maybe its the afterglow of actually appreciating and being part of the beauty that surrounds us, something most of us don’t do regularly enough. Maybe its just spending quality time with much loved friends. Whatever it is, after a day on the water its like I start wearing a protective cloak built of happiness and belonging. Fly fishing lets me take a step back from the everyday and press reset on my brain. I’m not a good enough writer to put all that into words that do it justice, but its some pretty magical s***t… And thats why I love fly fishing.

Fog
Fog over the dam as we hop in the car to head back to Canberra

Cheers
Hamish

flickandflyjournal.com

Hamish Webb, Dan Firth, Graham Fifield and Lee Georgeson have been fishing the south-east Australian region since 1987. Since then they’ve become avid sportfishermen who are constantly looking for new ways to challenge themselves. They are all scientists and conservationists who are passionate about the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem in which they live. They promote understanding and appreciation of the complex socio-political, economic and environmental issues surrounding fish, fishing and fisheries, while never losing sight of the various motivations that keep them coming back. In English, that means they love all things fishing and have a damn good time on the water, and that’s all that really counts in the end!

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