Tenkara is about hooking fish and bringing them to hand. Sadly, I see many beautiful takes missed because the angler is not paying attention. To consistently land fish the angler must seize the moment by being present while fishing.
Seize the Moment
I have been aware of the need to seize the moment for a long time. Initially I learned of this concept from my grandfather when he taught me about not letting the past drag me down. He also taught me that worrying about the future takes a person’s mind off of the here and now.
It took a proverbial one two punch to start focusing on this concept recently for me. I am so glad this happened when it did. Because of it I wanted to share with everyone and maybe allow you all to do the same.
The Wake Up
Seizing the Moment Or Not!
I was lucky enough to go fishing with Jeff and Esther Duke on Boulder Creek recently. This is a wonderful little stream that runs straight through the city of Boulder, CO. Even though there are massive numbers of people that pass this stream on a daily basis there are an amazing number of fish in Boulder Creek.
I was fishing a pool that looked like it was going to be extremely productive to start my day of fishing. I saw a rock that looked like it was the home of a piscatorial 1 predator. Casting out to a seam flowing towards the rock, I watched as my fly sank below the surface. With my fly sinking as it drifted towards the rock I saw a movement indicating that there was a fish here. I watched intently hoping for the tell tale tug of the fish having taken my fly.
Seconds passed as my fly continued to drift downstream, with no fish taking my fly. I casted upstream, dropping my fly into the water just to the inside of a seam heading towards the rock. As my kebari drifted lazily along with the current I heard a loud popping noise behind me that made me turn my head.
Standing behind me was a small family with a child who had a balloon. When I say “had” I mean that her balloon touched a branch and popped. Trying to be nice to the little girl I said “I am sorry your balloon popped it was very pretty!”
Tears were streaming down her face as I watched her father pick her up to console her. At the exact same moment if felt a firm tug on my line that put a sizable bend in my tenkara rod. Quickly returning to fishing I tried to set the hook on the fish that had eaten my fly.
Well, as you can guess, I overcompensated and yanked the fly from the mouth of the fish. I watched as the fish shot downstream to a safe place away from where I was fishing. It was at the moment when the fish was running that I came to the realization that I had not been in the now. I had let the outside world take my focus from what I was doing.
Having lost a sizable fish I continued upriver to fish a number of other pools. But, while fishing these pools I was focusing on what I was doing, tenkara fishing.
Seize the Moment Part Two
Having returned home to my wife and children that night I found myself stewing over the loss of that first fish. I could not believe how poorly I had fought that fish. Contemplating what I should have done differently only strengthened my resolve to not let it happen again.
Before I was ready to fall asleep I picked up a book from my nightstand. The book is titled Zen In The Martial Arts by Joe Hyams. 2 I had gotten a copy of this great book from a friend who I introduced to you in a past post. I have nicknamed him Kadoguchi-san, or in English, the Gateway.
Mr. Hyams talks in the chapter Seize the Moment, about his time practicing his movements but not focusing those movements. He was distracted by the thoughts of the day ahead of him. His teacher called him out on this telling him “You must learn to live in the moment!”
While reading this I realized I had been doing the same thing while tenkara fishing. I was not just distracted by a popping balloon but by how I would react if the balloon had been my daughter’s or my son’s. Worrying about my father-in-law passing kidney stones clouded my thoughts. I was thinking that I was looking forward to being at home with my wife after she got done with work. So many things and so little about tenkara fishing.
Putting the book down after having read this short story I turned out the light and contemplated what I needed to do next. I knew that I needed to focus on the hear and now and that is exactly what I am doing now. From that moment forward I have focused on living in the moment and not focusing on the past or future.
Seizing the Moment in Practice
Practicing this concept is easier said than done. Yet, that is part of the challenge of seizing the moment and one we can all strive for everyday we get out of bed. I am working diligently to make sure that I live for each and every moment as they are precious and fleeting.
I hope that you will take what I have said and explore your own ways to seize the moment in your own lives. Don’t just do this with family and friends or work. Do this while fishing and I believe your hook-up rate will increase dramatically.
Just remember “Live in the here and now!!!”