My arm stopped precisely at the spot that allows the line to roll out and have the nymphs enter the water quickly and in a downward trajectory. Something immediately felt out of alignment, and I looked down at my hand on the rod and then it moved upward. The top half of my rod was gone. My eyes progressed down the line and I saw the top half of my rod. I was standing in an awkward position, up on a larger boulder a few feet off the water. I had thought it created a great angle to reach the plunging flow of the run as it transitions into a deeper pool. Perfect winter holding water I had thought. Now I risked losing my rod tip downstream.
I thought my flies would catch the tip of the rod and keep it from floating away, but in the heavier water I wasn’t confident. In what probably looked like an old man’s awkward scamper, I scrambled down the boulder face and grabbed the line and the tip of my rod. Seeing the rod tip, it finally sank in that I had broken my rod.
The middle ferrule split and part of the connecting piece also broke. My first broken rod. I thought I’d be much angrier. Taking a deep breath, I cut off the nymphs and wound the line through the guides of the broken rod into the reel. I’ve purchased Orvis rods at this point in my fly fishing life. They have a 25 year warranty on most of their rods and I knew I had to send it to their factory in Vermont for either a repair or a replacement. No doubt I was disappointed and grumpy about being without my nymphing rod for a few weeks. I was very calm and I was proud I was resolved to repair my rod, to not take the damage personally, and to not let it ruin my day.
Fly fishing has many benefits for me. Besides the peacefulness, focus, and calmness it provides me, breaking my rod also showed me I have increased my resolve. Tis the season for New Year’s Resolutions. Each year I have stated the desire to achieve a goal, to change a behavior, or to continue good life practices. I have not often had the resolve to complete the goal.
My dedication to my blog and to fly fishing has helped me keep discipline and increase my resolve. I have committed to practice casting, which I have done more of, but not weekly like I sought to do. And I committed to writing a book, which I have started to research and develop aspects of the characters and plot of the story I want to tell. I also have four other resolutions to strive for and achieve in 2021.
- Engage in more conversation. I’ve focused more on getting thoughts and emotions out of my head and onto paper than on truly connecting with others. I am missing feedback and different perspectives that can help me grow and broaden my world. I want to be more open and to listen more intently.
- Be willing to be wrong and open to change. Looking for things to prove that my ideas and deeply held beliefs are right causes me to miss “what is so.” The concluded mind doesn’t have room to grow and I want to learn and improve.
- Spend more time observing. Whether I am taking a hike, sitting on a work call, or fishing a mountain stream, I want to take in all I can. Trying to get so many things done or to achieve my agenda can also limit what I can learn. Documenting my observations is critical.
- Think about fishing as an experience and experiment. I want to take the feedback from each trip, cherish the time, and gather my observations into learning moments. I don’t want to leave the river angry or disappointed. The river always gives something back.
A break of a fly rod won’t ruin my day. 2020 was an incredibly challenging year, with one bad break after another. Fishing has taught me that there’s always another way, another fish, and another day. Fly fishing has helped build my resolve. I will share my progress on my 2021 resolutions with all of you. What are you resolved to do in 2021?