Lord of the Flies

“Fly-fishing is a way of being in good places very quietly, with a pleasant purpose you can pursue with intentness and graceful tools.”

Those of us who love angling well enough to feel, as the angler Tolstoy put it, proud of being able to care for such a stupid occupation are not necessarily much like one another. Not only are there infinite numbers of kinds of fish in the world, inhabiting many different types of water, but the techniques used to snag them with a bent piece of metal on the end of a string are quite various as well. Thus when someone tells you, as someone seems often to do, “I like fishing,” you may know a little more about him or her than you did before, but not really very much.

By preference, one who fishes with hook and line may be a Hemingswayesque troller of huge marlin baits across the bosom of the wine-dark Gulf Stream, a trotliner after catfish in the depths of the somnolent Brazos, a puristical whipper of tiny artificial flies toward trout in mountain brooks, a cane-pole philosopher who elects to sit on a beer cooler beside still waters and regard a red and white float as it bobs, the trendy owner of a swivel-seated bass boat in which he and thousands of bucks’ worth of high-tech gear gun about on Corps of Engineers reservoirs, or any number of other things. Because, though there must be

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