The Spiritual Fly Fisher – Learning From Golf

| November 11, 2013

fly fishing spirituality

I was looking at a stylish golf magazine the other day, the beautifully designed “Golf Digest,” and I found that along with technical information, the latest golf fashion and the hottest irons, there was a story by Jim McLean called, “I Call It The Big Shift.”


McLean’s article (Golf Digest, 11/13 p.88) talks about how golf has changed; the clubs, the courses, the culture, the communication and most applicable to fly fishing — a mental shift in the game. “There is a shift away from dreaming, of pondering the game and allowing answers to come to us in the middle of the night. We’re becoming more analytical. Prior to the digital age, golfers reflected on the game differently. Most golfers read more — the classics like Percy Boomer and Ernest Jones, especially – and relied a lot on intuition. That’s how Ben Hogan discovered his Secret. Today there are to many distractions, and not enough time for imagination to occur and take hold … golfers give attention to their game, but in the way an accountant pores over spreadsheets – they come at the game with a left-brain numbers crunching perspective.”

I would say the entire country, and all sports are subject to that same BIG SHIFT to a greater or slightly lesser extent. Fly fishing is no different, and I would say more extremely BIG SHIFTed than golf. The saturation point was reached within the last two years though, and there seems to have occurred a “falling away” from this maddening pursuit of fly fishing information.

Personally, I welcomed that falling away, although it lead to the rapid demise of my efforts to establish successful “Discussion Boards” about fly fishing in Texas and the USA. For some reason, people had finally had, read, learned, seen, or perhaps been burned enough by “experts” condescending replies. I think the reason is because the fly fishing community organically recognized the BIG SHIFT, and decided to shut it down, walk away from all the words, pick up a fly rod and actually get back to it.

For the readers of this site, I think they continue to visit in such great, and growing, numbers because the information here is more diverse than simply the when / where / how of catching a fish on fly. I would like to think the “why” of fly gets fair play here. There’s also a bit more soulful diversity here as well …

However, for those of you who come here for your left-brain informational spread sheet fix … feel free to contact me a let’s see what we can do about a “slow down,” perhaps a simple trip to Oklahoma. I know I’m ready for some of that in the next few weeks.

There’s nothing like the feeling of your fingers freezing from being fish wetted, the sleet coming down, your line freezing, no sun, slabby rainbows, isolated and warm in your well researched fleece and GoreTex, isolated from people, from work, and it all simply works. Time to dream, time to ponder …


Category: Culture on the Skids, Life Observed, Writing

About the Author () 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.

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