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

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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8 thoughts on “Don’t Let Yourself Get Numb to the Reward

  1. I find fishing small streams keeps the spirit of the first trout alive. You have to approach such a stream with very humble aspirations even though you can be surprised by the occasional lunker. But stalking eight inch fish definitely makes on focus on everything else that makes this sport so magical.

    “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.”

    Amen, brother.

  2. great post, I enjoy pretty much everything you guys put up but this was an especially good read. Got me feeling nostalgic about my first fish on a fly rod, and lead me to a memory when Kent Jared and I were on a small stream in the N. Ga mtn’s near Vogel with spin rods treating them like fly rods and thinking we were fly fishing (at least I was thinking that). Letting line out and fly casting those spin rods like they were the real thing. Not sure I caught a fish that day but I’m pretty sure it was the first time I went “fly fishing”.

    • Chris,

      I will never forget that campinh trip man. It was so cool to let the little brother tag along. Man did it rain like heck that trip. It was a blast.

      We really should try to do something like that again. I know Jared would love to do a camping trip. We probably have to bring the really little ones this time. Ha. Thanks for the comment and glad you liked the post.


  3. THis post is so true. Lived in Anchorage for 6 years, fishing the Kenai every other day in the fall. Not sure there is much that can make you more jaded quicker than trying to shake off 20″ trout cause you are pissed you are missing a “good fish” on the drift.

    Now that I live in SW FL, I am back to every fish being a great one!

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