My apologies to Lance Armstrong for the obvious rip-off of the title to this story, but it just seems an appropriate way to describe last Sunday. Sometimes you know a particular fishing trip is going to rise to the surface among the jumble of all of your other trips and memories, even if the fishing itself is less than spectacular...sometimes it's not about the fish.
My Dad and I have been talking about going fly fishing together for a long time and for whatever reason, we've never made it happen. On Sunday, we finally put an end to the talk and just went and did it. It turned out to be a day I'll always remember, and nope, it wasn't about the fish.
I wanted to show him a particular stream that's pretty special to me, both because the fishing is usually outstanding and because, as eye candy goes, it can't be beat. On this day, the fishing turned out to be only so-so, but that hardly mattered at all. We hiked and climbed and fished our way up the creek, working the best holes with fly patterns that never disappoint and couldn't seem to buy a strike. Even so, I was having a ball...sometimes it's not about the fish.
We eventually arrived at what has to be the prettiest spot in the entire state of Virginia, and decided to take a break for lunch. As I sat on a log next to my Dad, my feet in the creek, stuffing my face with roast beef and taking in the beauty before me, I realized there was no better fishing companion with which to share a scene and a day like this. Never mind that so far we'd only managed to take a few small fish...sometimes it's not about the fish.
After lunch was done, I tied on a new fly, waded into the hole we'd been watching and began to cast. The current in the middle was too heavy for dry fly work, so I rolled a cast into the quiet back corner, hoping a fish would be there taking a break from the main flow. With tense anticipation, I watched the fly bob along in the current, and as it neared the end of its drift, a trout slowly rose and sipped it in. He battled well, employing that trademark bulldog style fight, but had nowhere to go and I quickly gained the upper hand. I lead the fish into calm water where Dad and I admired him for a few seconds before sending him home.
So, even though sometimes it's not about the fish, one good fish never hurts. And on this day, one good fish was just icing on the cake.