Fly Fishing and Beauty

This morning, my son Josh and I headed to the river to fly fish. This hasn’t happened before. Josh is a busy young man who toggles his schedule between school, church, golf and baseball. If it’s not one, it’s the other, as the Holt Taxi service skirts all over Colorado to accommodate his needs.

But this morning we dropped all discussion about those other pursuits, as noble and important as they are, and talked catching fish with a fly rod.

Fly fishing is a lot like cooking. It’s either a necessity or an art form. I’m no artist—my casts would not be the work of a Hollywood movie like, “A River Runs through It,” but I catch fish! I have been on the river many times and watched fly fishing guides instruct the clueless on how to fish. The casts of the guide are sophisticated and complex. The only problem is that the student doesn’t have a wit or a way in how to copy the sophistry of his teacher. It’s agonizing to watch.

I’m a really simple guy and I’ve taught dozens of kids and friends the fine art of, not fly fishing, but fly catching. Just recently I came across this definition of beauty and I thought it sounded a lot like how I fly fish, “The first trait of beauty is simplicity.” Another scholar once said, “The essence of most things in life is KISS, (Keep it Simple Stupid).” That’s what I did this morning with Josh.

Between Josh and I, we caught over twenty trout in four hours and we had a blast together. Josh is a quick study and an even quicker learner. He got it. No big casts or complex ideas, just the beauty of catching fish on a fly rod. It was simple and joyful. My favorite line from Josh this morning was, “This is exhilarating!” I think most things in life are supposed to be that way.

On the river,

Steve

Steve Holt D.D. MA

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