A Mindset for Fly Fishers

A Mindset for Fly Fishers

Author: NCWRC blogger/Wednesday, July 31, 2019/Categories: Blog, Fishing

Take any path you please and, ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There’s magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries, stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water if there is water to be in that region…Yes, as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded forever.” Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick

Some fishers say their dominant thoughts progress as they become more proficient at their craft. First, they concentrate on learning to cast, accurately. Then their focus goes from casting to matching and catching. In stage three they think about “the big one,” netting the whopper. After that, they hone their skills to become more efficient. And finally, they measure their total experience, appreciation for the out-of-doors and the fish they catch. 

My experience fishing through these five stages tells me that an undercurrent called a “stream of consciousness” mentally pervades every fisher person at every stage of fishing life, in every trout stream.

A “stream of consciousness” is the underwater mental flow of thoughts of a fisher. A submerged network of needs ripples beneath a fisher’s surface thoughts and purposes. Excuses like “catch fish,” “get away,” “try a new spot,” “test out a tactic, technique or tackle,” or “it’s the right time, temperature or day to fish” are just limp lines for the chance to satisfy the needs of our “stream of consciousness”. The compelling reason to cast our lot on the creek is to get in sync with nature, to peacefully reconnect with all natural sentient life. 

Give me one more trip to feel and smell damp air again, dip my hand into healing swirls, cool my life down under a tree-topped cathedral…and know that all is one.


“Yes, as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded together.” 


A river runs through us; and we are the river.

My friend, Edward Benton Banais, Grand Medicine Chief of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge, tells me we are all connected and all life is interconnected. We, the air, the boulders, the water, the trees, the trout, are brothers and sisters. Quantum mechanics also reveals that we are all truly connected. Our human brains trick us into believing the idea of “separation,” when in truth nothing is truly separated, including human beings. Our human atoms are connected to all other atoms; we, all of the planet, are entangled together. Our stream of consciousness knows this always, and seeks satisfaction of oneness in the brook, as stream and brother/sister.

Whether we accept this fisher mindset or not this stream of consciousness is relevant to our fly fishing. We are driven by needs to connect in peace, serenity, caring, kindness, consideration and love with all that is. The universe of fly fishing unfolds as it should. The perfect place fly fishers seek, to find this, is the river, within and without. The way is to throw a fly.


“I must fish. My stream of consciousness is calling me.”

Guest Blogger:  

Joseph Fields

Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education



Number of views (2256)/Comments (0)

Leave a comment

This form collects your name, email, IP address and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.
Add comment