Alice’s Angle, Catch of a Lifetime

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By: Alice Tesar

Fly fishing in its essence, is a solo sport. Even for anglers in love, it’s a tricky route to navigate.  

I’ve observed two types of romantic relationships in the all-consuming world of fly-fishing: relationships that allow one individual to obsess over fishing individually and relationships that share a deep personal love of the sport.  The first type seems to occur when two people love and enjoy completely different hobbies and thus spend little to no time sharing their passions, except the occasional holiday family event or ‘date night’. Typically, the angler in this duo opts for an evening on the river over said ‘date night’ causing a riff which will be closed up the next time the other wants to partake in their own sport of choice. This relationship usually involves a significant number of gifts (in the form of flowers or clean dishes) left for the lover as a sign of affection and gratitude for the mutualistic relationship.

The second form of love in fly-fishing occurs when two people mutually obsess over the sport but in their own ways and so rarely take time on the water together. In my own experience ‘date-night’ usually is time on the river but we inevitably end up with stretches of river between us, each taking our own approach and listening to the yelps of the other’s excitement over misses and catches from around the bend. Our certainty of our differing methods is so strongly linked to our egos that the distance between us on the river is increased. Fortunately, there is usually a beer or a flask to smooth things over when the angling has ended. 

I’ve illustrated two extremes and maybe your partnership falls somewhere on this spectrum. While I’m making large assumptions about what it is like to be in-love with an angler I know that love is dynamic and requires attention to what seems like a trivial detail, just like what it takes to be a good angler. If we went out and plopped a Royal Wulff on the surface every time we hit the river we may have a few lucky strikes, but we’d get into more trout if we looked closer at currents and bug life. Still more trout would be caught if we started to see where the fish were holding, at what point in the water column the trout are eating, and what bugs were coming off when. Effective anglers pay attention to weather in the past and forecasted, they know how the water temps affect bug life and trout feeding habits, and they keep track of the smallest changes and adapt accordingly. Effective lovers adapt to shifts in the metaphorical wind also. 

Being adaptable is of high-importance in both relationships and in fly-fishing, but it requires attention to the smallest details. The catch of a lifetime doesn’t just happen, it takes planning, and consideration. I’m not the first to see the connections between romance and angling: John Gierach wrote in Sex, Death, and Fly-fishing that, “you should always go fishing, period. If you don’t, even for what might appear in other circles to be a good reason, the suspicion is that you are getting uppity or, even worse, lazy.” So, if your new relationship is telling you not to go fishing, maybe it isn’t love. But don’t jump to any conclusions, try to look closer, what could you be missing that could help you net this love. Change your depth before you change your fly.

Whether your keep your passions separate or head to the river together, as with anything in a relationship, clear communication about the arrangement is paramount. What I’m trying to say is don’t let fly fishing get in the way of your relationship and don’t let your relationship get in the way of fly fishing. 

Alice Tesar
Alice guides for Steamboat Flyfisher in Steamboat Springs CO.
Gink & Gasoline
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3 thoughts on “Alice’s Angle, Catch of a Lifetime

  1. I read a post recently that said “If you had to choose between fishing or marriage would you chose fresh or salt water. I told my wife about it and she asked which I chose. I said Fresh water and a woman that loved me enough to not make me choose. I’m still married.

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