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50 SHADES OF DUN – CAITLIN REED

Editors Note: Caitlin is a well deserved member of the Vagabond Fly Advisory Board. Married to Phil Hills makes her a Fly Fishing devotee, but the reality is that she has more of an eye for adventure than most of us and she has probably caught a fair number of exotic species on all of our bucket-lists.

“Some men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not the fish they are after”

Henry David Thoreau

What is it about that burning desire to be out there chasing that perfect ‘ONE’.  You know what I am talking about, the call of the Stream (albeit on a desperate day you’d take any old dam)!

Sitting around the campfire in a pristine place, next to the braai in a backyard, or just shooting the breeze in the fly shop, talk often drifts to “That Thing”.

Hanging out, my ears have tuned in to countless fishing enthusiasts expound on the necessity, glories, thrill, challenges and other reasons to passionately pursue fish.

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Just Listening…

Listening to the occasionally outlandish, sometimes entertaining, and often endearing excuses for why fishing may in fact be the wholly encompassing meaning of life and since my opinion has not often been sought during these great debates. I have had plenty of time to cook up my own theory on this age-old and ever important question, “Why fish?”

Fishing is in fact the world’s greatest sport because it is ultimately an intrinsically complicated and stunningly sexy game of pursuit.

Love it or hate it but carry on reading. It’s only a theory after all and since I don’t intend to write three books on the topic I’ve boiled my theory down to this. Fishing is in fact the world’s greatest sport because it is ultimately an intrinsically complicated and stunningly sexy game of pursuit. Simply put: Fishing is the Art of Seduction.

Now some tackle types might loudly protest, but let it be known that I unequivocally start from this assumption. That Fly Fishers are the real playas. They bring it.

However, they aren’t all smooth operators. When it comes to romancing the river – who’s got game?

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The Enthusiastic/Rabbit Lover:  We all know who these ones are, even though most of the time they are blissfully unaware. These fisher folk are over the moon at every river, every fish, every method, every fly, and even every catch. Thankfully, their enthusiasm can be endearing even if it is awfully tiring.

The Jealous/Brooding Lover:  It usually first manifests in quite harmless ways which may make you feel extra special after sharing the latest/greatest catch story. But sooner or later it gets a tad worrisome when these fishing friends start to express a very real bit of resentment over your exciting weekend fishing adventure. Granted, who isn’t jealous of that dream fight with a trophy trout or prize swimming specimen – but watch out if these passive aggressive comments start to take on a more homicidal slant.

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The Loyal Lover: Doesn’t matter what the conditions are for this caster. Muddy River, Expensive Permits, 50km hike in followed by a hailstorm. Nevermind that – Fish or Die.

The Giving Lover: Keeping the sport alive! These fisher folk go out of their way to introduce others to the art. They take newbie’s out on the runs and share tips and gear willingly, without any obligation but the firm conviction that a day on the water will turn anyone into a true believer.

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The Straying Lover: Non-monogamous with their dubious conviction that Fly-fishing is “The Way” they can be often found cycling, hunting, bait fishing and chasing rainbows only to come back to the pot of gold in every crystal clear river at the end of the day.

The Competitive Lover: Let’s compare notes. These guys take their statistics seriously. Their best day streamside is always in danger of being one-upped. Count those fish, weigh them carefully. Beauty is about numbers in this fisher’s repertoire.

The Selfish Lover: You only fish with this fisher once because it just isn’t that fun. This type is just not that gracious; don’t be surprised if you never get your turn if you go out with them. Chances are, any great pool in the river will be first-come-first-served, and they somehow always end up there first.

The Philosophizing lover:  It’s just as enjoyable waxing lyrical about the pleasures of fishing as is it to actually fish with these guys. Their love is tangible in the mere recounting of bankside exploits,which always hold deeper lessons and hidden meanings. Great friends on a non-fishing kind of day.

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The Unicorn Lover: Always in search of the ultimate. These guys chase cutting edge gear and destinations only whispered about and almost always located in exotic and impossible to reach places. They go after the insane. The species no one has ever caught, that perfect river in cannibal territory. It’s not even a question of cost or danger or probability. These guys chase the dream. They don’t just make up legends, they are Legend!

The Romantic lover: [No judgment but I swoon over this type] These fishers truly adore just about every aspect of the sport. Any condition they can find the beauty in. They take it just as it is; one fish or a hundred fish kind of days – they all hold something precious. The thrill of the pursuit is just as satisfying as a take on the line, as is that perfect photo of a trophy. They will happily tell the tales if in the right mood but are happy just to hold some memories crystallized in their sold-out for fishing hearts. They enjoy each twist of glistening thread which builds a perfect fly. Each arc of a perfectly cast line. Each moss covered bank and earth colored river stone. Fishing is heaven to them and they draw us in for the Pure Love of It.

“Girls you know you better Watch out.

Some Guys, Some Guys are only About.

That Thing, that thing, That thing”

Lauryn Hill

Fly Fishing Women Please excuse my sexist syntax ….

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