Friday 29 October 2010

Should we inflict our affliction on others?

My young cousin has a birthday this week. To my utter joy he has expressed an interest in fishing so I have tied him a few flies. I have tied him a few of my most successful flies of the season which I illustrate below.

1 The Griffiths Gnat
2 A Grey Duster
3 A Black Gnat
4 I recommended this to some fishermen on the Derbyshire Wye who rather sweetly called this a Polly's Persuader. It's not quite right to do so, I am sure this is a very old pattern. It's just some hare's mask and Grizzle Hackle

I am not sure getting a bunch of shoddily tied flies is a very nice present. However, if anyone tied me a box of flies I'd be really rather touched. It's the thought that counts after all. He has just started boarding school as well, so it would be very wrong not to accompany the flies with some chocolate and fizzy strawberry laces. He might be able to use these as currency. It's a weird present for a 13 year old boy to get and it might not do his social standing much good in the complex adolescent hierarchies. However, at boarding school you can buy friends with food.
A lot of me really wants the lad to take to fly fishing. A brief pause, however makes me wonder if I wish him ill. Flyfishing is a serious infection. Symptoms include:
  1. An inability to concentrate between April and late September.
  2. A twitch affecting both arms. Sufferers will involuntarily move their arms as if to cast, this may even include an odd double haul movement. In extreme cases the afflicted will wriggle their fingers rhythmically imitating a figure of eight retrieve.
  3. Verbal diarrhoea. When patients are asked about the last fishing trip they may ramble on incessantly and incoherently in angling clich├ęs. Examples include: "It was this big", "I missed a lot of rises" "I struck too soon" "I did everything right but.."
The serious part of becoming a flyfisher is that your whole life becomes coloured by it. One's mind is clouded by past and future fishing trips. The mind can be traumatised by images of the opening a closing mouth of that trout you failed to catch. It is a life in constant turmoil. However, the flyfisherman may perhaps also acquire the welcome side effect of an inner calm wrought by hours contemplating nothing but fish and water. A life's work, stresses and achievement reduced to the moment when moist fishy lips clamp over, hook, fur and feather. I wish my cousin well indeed.