Checking Your Attitude

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Jeff Hickman Launches One Photo by Louis Cahill

By Louis Cahill

If you read the comments on our posts you’ll occasionally see the name Tom Cahill. That’s my big Brother.

Tom lives in Virginia. Too far away for us to fish together often but too close to have a good excuse.

He is an avid fisherman and a talented photographer. He and I have much in common. Our conversations may start off on motorcycles or politics but they usually end on fishing. I have often said that we are brothers, separated by a common hobby. Like brothers who marry sisters, Tom fell in love with bass and I with trout. I walked off up some mountain stream and he sped off at seventy mph across the lake.

The other day Tom left this comment to a post on G&G. It left me wondering why I’m the one with the fishing blog.


“Of all the cash we spend to catch a fish the biggest element is free. Years ago on one of those frustrating days my friend Rodney put it quite simply. Just as I was about to cast he asked ‘Are you going to catch one this cast?’ I responded with ‘Probably not!’ Rodney: ‘Then why don’t you just stand there until you are.”

“Now if you see me on the deck of my bass boat you may see me checking my line, checking my knot or checking my drag, but if I look like I’m just standing there staring a hole in the water, I’m checking my attitude.”


The Cahill Boys Photo Dan Flynn

That’s Tom all over. Contemplative in the face of adversity. A talented golfer and all around athlete, I remember watching him stand silently at the tee box. In a world of his own, visualizing his swing, reasoning through every detail. When the swing came it was perfection. The ball flying and fading exactly as it was told. I’ve not known a lot of guys who could do that, certainly not me. Tom is defined by his sheer force of will.

That attitude check came in handy the other day while I was fishing for steelhead on the Deschutes in Oregon. I’ve been spey casting for about a year now. I’m lucky to have learned from some of the best guys in the sport. I am largely a self taught fisherman and struggled for years with bad casting habits reinforced by ignorance. It’s nice to learn spey casting the right way first.

The casting is coming along well but once in a while a cast will break for no apparent reason and my line will pile up like spaghetti on the water. My natural reaction is for my Irish to come out. Pissed at myself I will tense up and flail a few more casts. Not a good approach. Spey casting is all about slow and smooth.

This time I remembered my Brother’s words. I stopped and stared at the deep green water, the amber hills and dusty blue sky. I watched the swallows swoop and dive like the Blue Angels, the water erupting like machine gun fire as they picked Blue Winged Olives off the surface. I took a few deep breaths and with a new attitude and my Brother’s hand on my shoulder, launched a perfect cast.

Why in the hell don’t I fish with him more?

A Less Recent Outing Photo Bill Cahill, I Think


Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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2 thoughts on “Checking Your Attitude

  1. There are times when the fish take over and life just slows down. I fish dry on Hebgen Lake outside of West Yellowstone. The snow covered Rockies are just 10 miles away. It’s a leisurely start, with the bugs not getting up until 9 AM or so. However, there are days when they just don’t show, or when I pick the wrong spot and I get to do nothing but enjoy the scenery, all 360 degrees of it. A number of days each season I sit in the boat for an hour or two, waiting for a hatch, and never pick up the rod. It never seems like wasted time.

  2. Very nice and engaging writing sir. The story speaks for itself. Relationships, cause and effect troubleshooting and spey casting are what hooked me, and your ability to hold my attention. Well done.

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