The anticipation of the arrival of the cicadas for anglers created lots of chatter on social media and fishing forums. Flies have been marketed, new ones have been created, t-shirts were made, stories of the exploits of 17 years ago have been retold, and some fish stories may have been created even before this hatch even occurred.
Largely my fishing experiences with cicadas were not the feeding frenzy I had anticipated. I had some good strikes on the large flies and definitely had some fun, but it was not mind-blowing. My friend, Mark, had already started to coin some fun terms for his Brood X 2021 experience: Suck-cada 21, the Great Cicada Scam 2021, and Scam-cada. Every frustrated text from Mark with a creative label made me chuckle. Then I got another batch of text messages. “The trout are gorging themselves!”
This past week, I was busy at work and was getting ready to be off for a week to go on vacation at the beach. Yeah, I know, what a trama! But my fear of missing out on the cicada mania crept into my mind. I would be leaving early the next morning and may miss the event I had prepared for over the past couple months. I was going to be spending time with the people I prepared my whole life to be with: my wife and kids.
More often than I should, I compare myself to others. I know comparison should be saved for car shopping and not for other people and myself. Mark Twain wisely said, “ Comparison is the death of joy.” We each have our own stories to tell and our own lives to lead. Blogger Jane Travis stated, “Comparisons make you feel superior or inferior, neither serve a useful purpose.”
Fishing with friends creates comradery, enjoyment, safety, and learning. Sharing fishing stories is wonderful too. There can be some level of competition when you want to keep pace or exceed the catches of your friends.
The act of comparison is hard to keep out of my mind. I see it between my children, fighting over the front seat of the car, struggling over who is smarter, more athletic, more musical, and other attributes. Social media can exacerbate these feelings when we compare who catches the biggest fish, who has the most followers, and how many likes do we receive.
I am inspired by the comments I hear from fly fishing guides. On different podcasts and blogs, I hear a common sentiment that many guides feel joy when they help clients catch fish, especially large fish. They express a sense that through their instruction and coaching they were part of the catch. They are part of the wonderful experience for their client. Also, they show an appreciation for watching someone else experience a joyful moment. I often feel that way when watching my wife or children when they are proud of an accomplishment or event.
I asked Brian and Mark to send me some photos from their fishing this week, since I haven’t been fishing in some time. The first picture Brian sent was of him holding a beautiful brown trout, with a look of pure giddiness. His expression made me smile, a deep “fly fishing guide” smile. Have some joyful moments!
“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” Zen Shin