Don’t Let Yourself Get Numb to the Reward

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Taking the time to admire and revive a beautiful trout. Photo By: Louis Cahill

By Kent Klewein

Is that cookie cutter rainbow trout making you feel numb inside? Are you losing the feeling of reward lately on the water?

Two decades have passed since I caught my first trout on a fly rod, and even with all those years that have gone by, I can still picture that beautiful 12″ trout in my hands clear as day. I remember that little bugger coming up and crushing my parachute adams, like it was the first piece of food it had seen in days. The feeling of accomplishment and reward I received from catching that trout was so strong, it gave me a perma-grin ear to ear, and a natural high that lasted the rest of the day.

Nowadays I often find I’m becoming numb to the reward I get from most of my catches. Landing a big trophy fish or fooling a lone sipper on the far bank still gets my adrenaline pumping, don’t get me wrong, but they all seem to fall short of the feeling I got from landing my first 12″ trout. Why is that? Am I turning into a snob? I’m sad and ashamed to admit it, but I think I am. That’s why lately I’ve made a point to try to take the time to always reflect back to those early days before I step foot in the water. If I’m guiding, I’ll show up extra early before my trip begins, and picture my anxious client driving over the mountains to meet me. I clear my mind and focus on how excited he or she is about the fishing trip that’s about to start, and how they probably lost sleep the night before picturing trout rising to their dry fly. Doing this, it gets me pumped up, keeps me grounded, and puts me in a zone so I can be the best guide I can be. When I’m fishing on my own, I’ll sit on the bank and watch the water flow over the rocks, through the riffles, and into the pools for a few minutes before I wet my flies. It seems to put everything into perspective for me and it enhances my overall experience for the day. Fly fishing can only be fully appreciated if we keep an eye on the big picture and don’t lose sight of the art, and the purpose it serves for us in our lives.

Every fish should be looked at as special in our eyes, whether it’s a wild parred up juvenile trout or a mature lunker enjoying the last remaining years of it’s life.

We can’t all have big wild fish and blue ribbon trout streams. Sometimes we have to settle for crowded subpar trout water with stocked fish. If you’re going through a phase where you’re feeling numb and unexcited about your catches, stay at home. You’re better off letting someone else enjoy and respect the fish until you can get your head right. It’s made a world of difference for me, and I’m back to appreciating and feeling like I just started fly fishing again.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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5 thoughts on “Don’t Let Yourself Get Numb to the Reward

  1. “You’re better off letting someone else enjoy and respect the fish until you can get your head right.”

    I’ve felt the way you describe; but no, it’s not about someone else. It’s about me getting back that lost feeling and the only way to do that is to be out there.

  2. A very good perspective. Sometimes, I need to quit thinking about what I get from and experience and think about what can I give. It may as simple as sharing the entire experience, not just a report on brag level catches.

  3. People need to stop caring about catching fish all together. I know, I know, we’re fisherman and we care about catching fish but as the famous Thoreau quote says” some people fish their entire live without realizing it’s not the fish we’re after”. It’s about being outside with friends or family or by yourself. It’s about camping and hiking and exploring and maybe, just maybe, it’s about learning something new every time we go out. This is what I was told when I was getting started, “you’re either in the zero or the more than zero category for the day”. Who cares how big or small the fish are as long as you’re in the “more than zero” category. It could be one big fish or ten small fish or vice versa. If you’re in the zero category, you still went fishing and that should be enough.

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