Feeling Lucky? Not if You’re a Fly Fisher (yeah, right)

| December 19, 2013


“Havin’ any luck?” is the common call to and from fishermen as they pass each other on foot and in conversations around the world. It’s the universal ice breaker. Luck is much older than fishing of course, and it is one of the most integral intangible forces that individual religions embrace or shun.

In fly fishing we disguise the “luck variable” with other words, like “confidence.” How many times have you read, or heard, “Fish the fly you have confidence in,” as a last resort when all else fails. That, my friends is luck wearing another mask. We’ve talked for several years about “eliminating the variables,” and establishing “patterns,” and for the most part that will bring you the fish you seek. It could be common knowledge, or (free) valuable insider information gleaned through extensive research, but it goes almost all the way toward success.

Notice the qualifiers? “Almost all the way,” and, “most part,” give the fly fishing gods their due – luck. So if we humans are a superstitious lot, who believe in God, fly fishing gods and luck, then how do we think about influencing our fly fishing gods and luck? I believe the fact we acknowledge “fly fishing gods,” or “luck,” can actually set us free.

If you watch the Ted Talk by the author of “Eat, Pray Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert goes into more detail on an artist’s way of dealing with luck among many other things. Watch her Ted Talks video here – http://youtu.be/86x-u-tz0MA and learn how she believes artists have taken credit and blame for their success or failure, and internalized it. While on the other hand, prior to this recent phenomenon, philosophers and artists had external objects or spirits to blame or credit for their successes or failures. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to blame my lucky charms instead of myself!

I have to admit, as primitive as I sound, I believe in luck. What else could explain losing a tournament winning redfish to a single loop of fly line around a rod holder? No, it wasn’t bad line management. It was bad luck. See how well this works? And what else could explain standing right next to someone and catching no fish while they catch all the fish?

So if we accept “luck” as a variable, remove the “” from the word, and open the door for the invisible forces to do their work, then where does the luck start? For me, luck has always started at the fly tying workbench. And now, I am beginning to push my luck up front (and center) on my fly tying workbench.

At first, subtleties like a shaman’s bag, a spike’s antler, a rattler’s rattle, a baby anvil, and music speakers combined to bring small caliber shots at luck. Now, after a weekend of working an art show for my wife (Randy Brodnax at Sons of Herman Hall), and seeing the spirit infused work of so many truly talented artists, I had to buy a couple of pieces of their (very affordable) work, and bring a small piece of that “spirit,” that luck, back home with me and put it on the workbench – looking at me eye-to-eye. And if it fails, I have something else to blame. Makes sense to me.

Watch the video to learn more about the artists who now bring luck to the workbench. Let us know what brings you luck. Let us know if you have lost your lucky charm and luck with it. Imagine actually having something lucky, and then losing it. Whoa.

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Category: Culture on the Skids, Life Observed

About the Author ()

https://www.shannondrawe.com is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

Comments (1)

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  1. Leslie says:

    Love it- I’ve never had much luck when it comes to fishing. All the “luck” has been on the other end of the line! Lucky fish!

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