So Much Water Volume 2 Issue 1 - Page 76

Mind Your Game

Story and Pictures by Drew Ross


I line up my shot, estimate the distance, grip it and rip it. I was aiming for the back side of a log hanging off the bank. It started out great but somewhere in the process the world went Matrix on me. I remember seeing that grotesque creation from my vise disappear behind me. But it never returned. Struggling to process the results of my failed double haul. Sabotage spelled out in my mind but, actually, I was rusty and lost my grip on the 2nd haul. The streamer went sailing into the water behind the kayak. In my head, I'm way better than that and so are you, right?!

Lots of things look different in your head. You're an excellent dancer. You're athletic. You still have all your hair. It's not until you walk past the mirror that you realize your mind is your worst enemy. Don't believe me. Ever watch a middle-age softball game? Sadly, I remember the day I was running to 2nd base. I went to do a pop-up slide like I did in high school and ended up doing a half slide, half cartwheel, belly flop into center field. As I laid on the ground, I thought to myself, "I saw that going way different in my head." Your mind can't be trusted. Just because you could do it once, doesn't mean you can do it now.

Here's my advice, but beware, me giving advice is like listening to a fireworks safety class taught by Jason Pierre Paul. Here it is anyway, go practice. I don't mean in the yard. Throwing lawn darts beside the swing-set isn't close to what it's like when you're on the water. Pulling a sinking line across the grass doesn't help you pull it from the water. Yes, your neighbors will think you're cool, especially if you also own a kayak. They'll stop and make small talk, "Do you know how to fly fish?" You'll feel awesome and offer advice. You might say something like, “come over next weekend and I'll give you a free lesson." Your mind will convince you that you're that good. I mean dude, you've watched 18 hours of Orvis endorsed YouTube videos. By now, you're a magician with the fly wand. You might even be good enough to pull a fish from a hat. But what about the water?

A few weeks later, you'll be on the water with your buds ready to show them how cool you are. You'll probably say something like, "I spent last week teaching fly casting lessons at the local fly shop." You'll take your prideful stance, grip it and rip it....and.... The laughs you hear will be your buddies reminding you that YouTube failed you and you still suck. That's what friends are for!

You'll wonder what could have changed. You're a hero in the yard but a zero on the water. Could it be that today the wind is actually blowing? The boat is actually moving which means your targets are also moving. It’s cold, maybe raining, snowing, or whatever. You're hands are cold. The line is wet with, imagine this, real water, and it's really slippery. You guessed it, those are actual tree branches protecting the best hideouts. You can't replicate real life conditions in the yard.

So Much Water.... So Little! Time!