“The fly, the leader, and the rod tip need to be in the same lane” were the first words of the lessons after introductions. Domenick Swentosky is a guide and the author of Troutbitten, an incredibly comprehensive and informative blog about fly fishing and trout. I have found the first thing that people say is something they have thought about and crafted to sink in and get their points across. I was looking forward to my guided trip with Dom, as he writes with a clarity and level of technicality that connects with me. His first instructional words to me will be a long-term help to me.
Throughout the day, there were so many good quotes, observations, and lessons to be learned. That first quote rang out in my mind. When I was able to stay focused and calm and follow that first piece of advice, I could feel that the line was connected through the fly to my finger. I could almost sense the bottom of the stream and anticipate that a fish may take the fly. Hearing Dom’s voice, it was like he could sense the opportunity was right. The fly, the leader, and the rod tip were in the same lane, and that combination created the most opportunity for me to catch a fish.
Part of what I was learning was that a repeated pattern and the ability to watch the things that change around that pattern make it easier to learn. I was able to isolate smaller things to observe and fine-tune different movements and focus my observations. At times, I would get fatigued or overwhelmed from the concentration, but I could settle myself down and come back to the moment.
It was a great day. I have a few pages of notes from the trip, and each day since, I have remembered a few more items. Also, the connection to keeping your flies, lines, and tip of the fly rod in the same flow path helped me see all areas of my life that may need more attention.
Many times, during conversations I can find myself thinking about the impact of the other person’s words on my thinking and actions. I miss the opportunity to connect. Sitting at my computer, I often have 15 open windows. I get text messages, emails, and instant messages from my office’s phone/communication system. I am out the lane too often.
The lesson I learned to keep the fly, the leader, and the rod tip in the same lane, the same flow path will stay with me for a long time. It has helped me to see the things I need to learn and how to stay focused while isolating different variables to experiment and see what other data I can collect. I can see how wandering all over several lanes misses the best opportunities to connect with myself and with others. Thanks Dom. I’ll always think of the cold air, the flowing stream, and your voice reminding me to keep all my attention in the same lane.