How do you know you're a fisher when you aren't fishing? Let me tell you about a recent adventure that I had...It used to be that when I saw a big fish in a small creek that allowed no way to land it or play it, I'd cast anyway. We're talking about a fish over, say, 18 inches. If I hooked-up, naturally the fish would jet downstream and be off in a few moments because the terrain made it impossible to follow more than ten feet. Of course, I'd feel pretty stupid losing a nice fish, a nice fly, a bunch of tippet--to say nothing about my sense of humor.
When everything was in place, I let the wind grab the fly and dangle it above the suspect fish's liar, letting it dance with the wind on the water like a caddis fly. After a few moments my mysterious brown trout rose from the depths and took the fly on the surface and dove back down--except that the fly popped out, as designed. I kept doing this until the big brown stopped rising. Then I had fun with some smaller bows, who were much more willing to jump higher than the brown, even with a fly that was getting a little water-logged and slimmed. The brown didn't seem too willing to jump out of the water, but the bows, I learned seemed quite happy to jump 6 inches out of the water. One almost got the fly at 8 inches. It was amazing!
I'm not sure it is fly fishing. In fact, without a functioning hook, I'm not sure it is fishing at all. It is more like "Trout Olympics". And it is more fun than a barrel of monkeys (Note to self: work on more consistent metaphors).