I am an awful fly fisherman. I started “picking up” new hobbies to compliment surfing at around the same time that I started to get really busy with work (perhaps as some sort of subliminal rebellion against me giving up more and more of my own time), so not only do I not have enough opportunities to indulge and perfect them but they also all require fairly similar optimum weather conditions. I should’ve taken up past-times more suited to stormy winter evenings such as wood-turning or learning to play the guitar properly.
Instead, a handful of times each year, I go out and wave a stick around the air with an ornate bit of fluff and a hook tied to the end of it. Invariably I fail to catch a fish, but I enjoy myself and that is why I do it; learning to cast a fly and becoming proficient at it is a very zen-like repetitive process that requires a great deal of concentration and practice. The “fishing” part when the fly is on or in the water trying to trick your prey into taking a bite is proportionally very small when compared to the total amount of time that you are fishing. My flies spend most of their time in midair, whizzing past my right ear in ever-increasing loops as I try to build up enough line to cast out to where the fish (might) be. Once I’ve got good at that I’ll worry about how they “present” or land on the water, which is a whole other issue.
I don’t catch any fish but that’s not why I do it: In just the same way as I rarely bring home dinner when I go spearfishing, the catching element of fly-fishing for me is just a possible pleasant by-product of spending a few hours under, on, waist deep in or next to the water.
I did once unknowingly fly-fish for sea bass mere metres away from the British Prime Minister (he didn’t catch anything either) so I at least have a “fishing” story to tell in the pub, and of course there are all of those monsters that got away... If I ever land one then you’ll be the first to know.