Fishing For Memories

by | Aug 13, 2019 | 0 comments

As members of the Big Sky Anglers community (a diverse, extremely clever, and good looking lot if there ever was one), our lives can all be described in terms of many different things, including fly fishing.  And since this is a fly fishing website, I don’t feel bad talking about that here.  It’s crazy for me to think that I first flung a fly into the water over 35 years ago.  In that time, I’ve been truly fortunate to have fished in so many amazing and inspiring places with so many friendly and wonderful people.  I’ve come to know more than a few amazing places as my home waters, and I’ve forged some of my most cherished relationships around angling.

Blah, blah, blah.  Right?   Sorry.  Hang on.  I’ll get around to it.

Spending time on the water (experience) manifests itself in knowledge and skills gained.  That knowledge and skill, when applied correctly, often results in the achievement of the most basic objective in fly fishing – catching a fish; or a bunch of fish; or a big fish.  But that most basic objective is certainly not the only reason that people are drawn to fly fishing.  And, in the end, no matter how skillful and knowledgeable you become as an angler, there will always be those days when the fish just seem to disappear, leaving you standing by the water with a slack line.

I used to dread those bleak, fishless days in my younger years.  They felt like some sort of failure back then.  I don’t mind them so much any longer.  Now, on the days when the fish just won’t show themselves, or I just can’t manage to crack the code, I just string up the subconscious 6-weight and have a go at fishing for something else. Memories.

Turns out, they are a lot easier to catch than fish.

If you fish enough [How much is enough?], over time you will likely amass more than a few wonderful memories to conjure up while you aren’t catching fish.  For me, the great thing about being out on the water is that simple attendance makes it super easy to recall (catch) all those memories.


It turns out that there is a well-known technique for remembering unstructured information (like fishing stories) called the Roman Room.  To use the method, one associates the individual pieces of information they wish to remember with the items in a room of an imaginary or not-so-imaginary house.

I didn’t even know this method existed until a couple of years ago, when I came across it while reading a magazine.  Perhaps, over the years, I’ve unintentionally created a Roman Room out of every fishing spot I’ve ever been to, and associated memories with each rock, seam, run, and tree on the river bank?   Every detail of the memories seems to just spring forth out of the water like a hungry cutthroat rising for a fat grasshopper – expected, but also unexpected.  And those memories can make an otherwise slow day fly by, or a lonely day into a full and happy one.

I won’t bore you with examples of my own memories.  They likely won’t mean a thing to you.  But I’m sure you have your own to recall the next time you are out there not catching any fish, or maybe…


Take Care & Fish On,