Fly Fishing Through My Eyes

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Kent Klewein and Carter Lyles enjoy a day on the river

Kent Klewein and Carter Lyles enjoy a day on the river

By Carter Lyles

“Many people go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

That quote by Henry David Thoreau is what makes up the fine line between a fisherman and then a fly fisher.

•The line is not drawn upon an “elitist” image that most portray fly fishers to be. We are not elitists, and to those who think we are, you’re wrong.

•Anyone today can pick up a fly rod and learn how to fly fish and I strongly encourage everyone to do so.

•This so called “line” that separates us from conventional and bait fisherman is about a journey, not catching fish.

Life Is Too Damn Short, That’s Why We Jump The Mainstream

Turn on the news today and I guarantee you that you’ll hear about at LEAST one of these issues: poverty, war, money and corruption. A recent Gallup Poll revealed that 70% of Americans are unhappy with their current occupation. And an even more recent study by The Hunger Projects uncovered that nearly three billion people make less than $2.50 a day from their occupation. This obviously causes stress, which is a reason why three out of four doctor visits in the United States are for stress-related ailments ( And with stress comes unhealthy eating habits, depression, sleep deprivation, and a series of negative health effects.

Listen folks, everyone in this world has problems they are facing. Just because you see Johnny constantly posting pictures of him on Facebook having a blast with all of his hip friends doesn’t mean his life is perfect. Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to other people’s highlight reel.

This entire man-made test course of life that we have created overtime has run us aground. We’ve got nowhere else left to go! That’s why I believe that we will end up killing each other long before any natural disaster. Like good ole Rocky Balboa said: “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.”

Man is altered. We sin and no matter how hard we try, we cannot and will not ever copy what has already been provided for us. Haven’t you ever heard that natural is better? Natural diets are the healthiest way to lose weight. Water is the best liquid to put in your body. Natural beauty is much more magnificent than fake beauty. Natural forces that are held within us are the genuine healers of disease… As world-renowned scientist Neil Degrasse Tyson once said:

“Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes just one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on Earth, we’re still at the mercy of nature.”

In the Buddhist religion, the Buddhist monks who practice deep meditation look within themselves and within the natural world to discover their enlightenment. For most, it takes YEARS to reach enlightenment and when it happens they find peace within themselves, the world, and a final understanding of being. It is their journey.

How Does This All Relate To Fly-Fishing?
•As fly-fishers we have disconnected ourselves from this corrupt human-run operation and placed our passion within the heart of the natural world in search of our own enlightenment.

•We are the ones crazy enough to try and duplicate what has already been provided for us in nature through fly tying, and we are even crazier for actually putting it to the test against a living organism.

•Everything about fly-fishing, whether you’re trying to get a drag-free drift or placing your fly in a very small strike zone, requires focus. Within this deep focus it is just you and that fish, nothing else. Even if you screw it up, it’s okay! Every single failure provides us a learning experience that draws us closer to the victory and with every victory we take a step forward closer to that enlightenment.

•The fly-fishing community has ultimately created its own culture of peers with whom we have a close bond and understanding, who are searching for the same answers in their journey. And the exciting thing is that it is NEVER too late to start.

•Lastly as Lilo and Stitch would say: “Ohana” means “family.” Family” means “no one gets left behind.” We are a family and we keep this clan alive!

It All Comes Together…

The bad news is that it’s nearly impossible to explain to a non fly fisher why we spend thousands of dollars to go to a lodge just to catch a few fish we have absolutely no intention of keeping. It’s the freaking journey, man! The best legal high you can get next to your wedding day and the birth of your child…or maybe crashing the field under those Friday night-lights. Fly-fishing is a straight up trip, man, and the only way you can experience it and get started with your journey is if you just dive in head first!

And here is your assignment:

Next time you’re out on the water and you see a fellow fly fisher ask him/her where they are in their fly fishing journey. It will be an interesting conversation!

Carter Lyles
Gink & Gasoline
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11 thoughts on “Fly Fishing Through My Eyes

  1. So true. In many aspects. we have cut out cable TV in our household, no technology from 6-8 pm, we play games, go for a hike, go fishing, whatever. It is so simple. We are looking to reconnect to ourselves, often with a fly rod in hand.
    I have clients from all over the US in my boat, the one thing that always blows my mind is after a day on the water, regardless of the number of fish caught, they reflect back upon the float and its serenity and they have a thank you in their eyes. No phones calls, no board meetings, no conference calls, no senseless noise, just the river, deer, eagles, a few Bohemian cedar waxwings, and our souls are replenished. Ohana!
    Get out and Get Wet!!
    Tight Lines,

  2. Preach it Carter! I wonder if it would be possible to get this article tattooed on my back; That’s how good it is.

  3. Remember that old joke, “It’s better to sit on a lake and think about the Lord than it is to sit in church and think about fishing” ?

    It ain’t a joke.

  4. This really touches home with me. I am one of those people who hates there job. I work in the IT profession. I work for a company that has 31 locations and an IT staff of 4 people. I tend to work every weekend and late at night. As a matter of fact today is my sons first day of school and I will most likely have to work late and not get to talk to him about his first day of school. As a result of this I have gained alot of weight, and adopted alot of health issues.

    Needles to say fly fishing has been apart of my life for about 15 years now. I truly enjoy the time I have on the water. I hope someday I will have the financial freedom to walk out the front door, and straight to the local creek.

  5. For those who do not have time to fish (alone, with their kids, or with their friends), it is time to realign priorities. It does not need to be fishing… but it does need to be a break from our mile a minute everyday life. You will live longer and better.

  6. There aren’t may pursuits on this planet that allow people to wander the streams, rivers, lakes, flats, mangroves and deep blue and to have the excitement of the take and the act of release, coupled with the wondrous sights that we are privileged to see as flyfishermen.

  7. Then you go to the Russian river and realize that the line between gear fisherman and fly fisherman is blurred even more than you realized. You are both using 30 pound line/tippet, you are both flipping 3/8oz of lead, and you are both tossing overpriced bucktail decorated hooks from the local fly shop since you lost a dozen and a half of them the day before while slowly feeling your toes go numb. All to find that one moment of perfect harmony when the heavens open up, the stars align, and you get that instant massive adrenaline rush that only happens when you feel that ever so soft “tug”…

  8. Even though the world can be a dark and an unforgiving place and you may seem to reach an end with no place to turn remeber, Jesus is always there for you and you can always turn to Him! When you ask God to save you throught Jesus, you become a new person and seperate yourself from the way the world lives. I turned my back on the world so I could face Jesus. God Bless

  9. I’m thoroughly enjoying your articles on here and this one was a goody. Really got me thinking about a few of my last trips and all the time I spend at work day dreaming about the next trip. Keep it up lads!

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