A Three Pound Trout On A Two Pound Line
The only time I went fishing with my father – and the only time I’ve been fishing in my life – I was nine years old and we were staying for two nights in Camden, Maine. It was handline fishing from a boat rocking in a small storm on a cold day. Everyone was sick and all I remember is the repeated advice, “You’ve hooked him now yank him!”
Even though I’ve never been fishing since, I’ve read several books on fly-fishing and consider it an art. One of the best books I’ve read is by Howell Raines titled “Fly Fishing Through The Midlife Crisis.” Raines describes the difference between “hook ‘em and yank ‘em” and the subtlety of fly fishing after hooking a large trout in a stream: “That is how I came to understand the relationship between heavy fish and light lines. The act of setting the hook must contain within it an almost simultaneous act of surrender. Upon seeing or feeling the strike, the fly fisherman is required to pull back with precisely enough force to slide the point of the hook into the tissue of the fish’s mouth. Then he must release all the pressure and let the fish go where it wants to go. It is an act of physical discipline and of hope – the hope being that by and by when the fish is tired of going where it wants to go, it and the fisherman will still be connected by a thread that leads them to the same place.”
I’ve thought about this many times and in many situations with people when I find myself in a tug-of-war. I can either “hook ‘em and yank ‘em” to get them to do what I want or I can take the risk and practice the discipline and the hope of staying connected by a thread that leads us to the same place. It doesn’t always work because people are not trout and I’m no fisherman. Still, over time in my life I have discovered staying connected by that thin line is a far better way to live.
|Megan Willome||February 1, 2012, 11:21 pm|
|Yeah, I'm with Chad on the teen thing. Seriously, Fred. I love how you just put this out there and let people take it where they will, like the trout.|
|Chad Houck||January 30, 2012, 8:21 pm|
|New reader here and loving your thoughts Fred! Thanks for this visual. Shared it around the office and we had a great conversation on its implications in the areas of parenting (teens anyone?), struggle, interpersonal relationships, and intergenerational relationships. As a bonus, having spent a little time on some of the great flyfishing waters of the Idaho Sawtooths, man did this bring back memories! Think I'm might have to take my son fishing and share a little story with him...|