As an enthusiastic consumer of all things flyfishing, I am regularly amazed at the streamside (or pondside) philosophers that endeavor to explain why we choose the flyrod. Some describe our efforts as a sport that implies competition. Surely our lives, even including our leisure, are saturated with enough competition. But, of course, our efforts to provide life’s necessities are nearly always based on how we perform our tasks compared to the efforts of others. Our hardware-slinging brethren have embraced competition, and some of our fellows would have us do the same. I hope those efforts ultimately fail. We flyfishers should be happy to define our own sense of pleasure and our own sense of success as opposed to assigning winners and losers.
Other philosophers engage in complex reasoning and utilize poetic language to convince us that flyfishing is an art form. They see the artistry in the cast and view it as the lynchpin for their explanation. Some select individual aspects of our experiences, such as insect replication through fly tying, elevating our pursuits to art. Others focus on the aesthetics of the places fish inhabit or the solitude we can experience. It’s hard to argue against fly fishing as art. At the very least, it offers an ego-satisfying theory to practitioners. But, despite all the various efforts to understand our appreciation of flyfishing, I embrace a much simpler explanation: it makes me happy. Does it really need to be any more complex than that?