© 2014 Grace Baldwin

My Biggest Life Lessons and How I Practice them in Fly Fishing

“Many men go fishing their entire lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.” — Henry David Thoreau

1536426_3890094786906_887371126_nIt’s not the outcome it’s the process

Catching a fish is the most rewarding after a long day of tireless casting, tying, untangling, but even during those days when the only thing you hook is a clump of seaweed, a lot can be gained.

A favorite fishing quote of mine: “The supreme test of a fisherman is not how many fish he has caught, not even how he has caught them, but what he has caught when he has caught no fish.” — John H. Bradley

Finding a silver lining and forcing yourself to reflect on what you have gained when you feel you’ve gained nothing at all; that’s what the sport is about, and that’s what life is about.

1555340_3890093226867_1550723235_nHumility is an asset no one can take away from you

No matter how big your “basket of fish” [i.e. how many fish you caught and released], remaining modest and alert to other people’s feelings is critical. Compassion is a priceless quality appreciated in all aspects of life, in work and in relationships. It is important to never assume that the number of fish a person catches is an accurate assessment to of their skill or knowledge, or how hard they worked that day.

Furthermore, regardless of your accomplishments, boasting about your success makes it less meaningful. All that floats will rise to the surface, and it’s important to remember that even if you don’t wear all your skills on your sleeve, those who pretend to be something they’re not will never surpass true skill hidden behind modesty.

Sh*t happens

Even with the right fly, a perfect cast, impeccable drift, quick reaction time, and the right balance between stripping in but letting the fish run, the trout can still, and will, spit your hook. Final results are always out of your control and I have learned this countless times throughout life. It is important to keep in mind that no matter how hard you work, not everything will go your way, and that is okay.1601332_3890096426947_842914991_n