The closer you look, the more you see. That’s an obvious statement when applied to just about anything. However it became especially relevant to me years ago via the rise of digital cameras and powerful photo editing programs. I always enjoyed taking photos of fish, especially hard earned wild steelhead, coaxed to the shore by a fly knotted to a thin span of monofiliment and fly line. Thousands of casts, hundreds of miles, and countless hours spent day-dreaming of laying eyes on such a fish. A few brief glances, a rushed procedure to control the fish for just a moment, remove the fly then allow the fish to rest, recover, and then released. Such a rapid encounter, only to set it free after a few brief moments, knowing you’ll never see it again.
Catching any fish is an honor for those anglers who admire and respect their quarry. A fleeting encounter surrounded by so much adrenaline and excitement it can hardly be described. The whole thing is over and done before you even know it. You’ve spent so much time in anticipation of these few moments, and you’ll spend endless time re-living it over the course of thousands of casts and decades to come. The more you prod those memories, the feeling of briefly gripping that fish will seem all the more enticing. You’ll want it again, and find yourself willing to invest all the more time and money to see another fish like it at your feet. Words will become scarce to describe to others who don’t understand your quest. That picture in your mind that’s “worth a thousand words”, may actually be ten thousand twisted words you’ll likely never be able to find, but we all continue to try.