River & Stream
Words & Photos by Ashley Herrin
There's something to be said about the mesmerizing back-and-forth gestures. The tick-tock, tick-tock motion the arm mimics as force gradually builds, pushing the fly further through the air with every pass. The line arcs and dances over the water. The fly touching the surface only slightly, teasing its prey. With ease, the fly is cast towards the eastern banks of the river, urging its bait to latch on. I've sat and watched this time and time again, and still, I am amazed by it's grace and beauty. Watching my father fish on this early autumn morning, I am reminded how much this is an art form, and I am completely in awe with it.
You're immersed in your surroundings, in the literal sense you're knee-high in a river trying to fish nature's bounty out of its natural habitat. You're also connected on a higher level. Fly-fishing forces you to master insects, fish habitats and their life cycles. Your dependence on catching a fish is fueled by your understanding of their habits. It has been romanticized by some of the greatest authors of nature, from Muir to Leopold to Thoreau. It's a beautiful escape. And leaving empty handed doesn't mean it was all for nothing. After all, you've spent a few peaceful hours in the outdoors. To me, there's no greater reward.