Article of the Month
"Time on the Water: An Angler's Guide to Dating"
An excerpt from How to Have A Match Made in Heaven:
A Transformational Approach to Dating, Relating and Marriage
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Shya and I went fishing on the Delaware River the other day. It was late afternoon as we launched our little aluminum boat, the slanting sunlight dancing on the water. Two days before while taking a walk we stood on a bridge that crossed the Delaware and had spied many fish: bass, crappies and bluegills. The fish were all holding in one small pool between an island and the western edge and we were looking forward to motoring over to that area and trying out some of Shya's flies to see what we could catch.
The recent spring rains had raised the water level creating an island between the main river and what was now a small channel of water. In summer this little waterway is too shallow to navigate but for now it was perfect for drifting and casting to either side.
At first we cast little green and orange buggy looking things with "silly legs", little strips of rubber that undulate with water's movement to look like a bug in distress. This type of fly is called a "popper". With a quick strip of the line you pull the popper through the water making a splash and a plopping sound in a bid to attract the nearby fish.
As we floated along, Shya set up our electric motor on the front of the boat so that if we got too close to either shore we could gently and quietly reposition ourselves in a more advantageous spot for fishing. We could see submerged rocks and logs and all sorts of structure that fish normally like to hide behind, areas where they feel safe. Cast after cast we made into this nook and that cranny and yet we had very little response from fish so we decided it was time for a change.
By now we had floated down until we were in position to cast to the area we had viewed from the bridge. Throwing the anchor overboard we laughed at the noise as the chain clanked along the side of the aluminum boat as we prepared to anchor up.
Shya turned to me with a grin, "Stealth," he said poking fun at himself, "That's called stealth."
Over the years we have learned that it is always best to be as quiet as possible in order to not alert a fish to your presence, in order to not scare them off. Of course bass, bluegills and crappies are not the most skittish of fish so we knew we should still be fine.
As the boat settled in the stream we both switched flies. We put on a Goddard caddis fly. This type of fly is made with deer hair and feathers and does a pretty good job of imitating an aquatic insect called a caddis fly. (Goddard was the fellow who originated this particular pattern.) Before we knew it, we were hooking and releasing some beautiful little fish. We were in the right location, using an attractive fly, with the skills needed to make a delicate presentation and the presence needed to set the hook when the fish took the bite.
Side by side we fished. (Or perhaps I should say back-to-back since I was in the bow, or front, of the boat and Shya was in the stern.) We were there for some time, the light playing off the water, the birds singing, the occasional car or pedestrian passing by on the bridge overhead, the snow geese bathing near the shore.
At one point a fish splashed by my caddis as it tried to grab it for dinner. With a quick jerk I raised the rod to set the hook. I missed the fish and so the fly came hurtling out of the water and wrapped itself around the engine and various things that were catchable in the bottom of the boat. When I unwrapped the line from around the motor, I found that the tippet of my line and the fly itself were all bollixed up in a tangled mess. As I sat down to work out the mess, I came to a startling realization. We had been on the river for a couple of hours now and this was the first time I had had a snarl. And it wasn't something I did by casting incorrectly, it was the result of snapping the line back without the weight of a fish to stop its trajectory back into our boat. I had underestimated, once again, my skill with fishing. And yet it has not always been so. I still carry with me the memory trace of my learning curve, which was steep and often frustrating. Yet by simply getting back out there I realized that I had learned and grown so organically that I hadn't even noticed how I had moved from novice through amateur to expert.
There is an old saying, "Time on the Water". There were plenty of times when Shya and I have gone fishing and we didn't catch a thing, so we just chocked it up to experience and time on the water. It is said that there is no substitute when wanting to improve as an angler as time on the water. And when we haven't caught something – well, that's why they call the sport fishing, not catching.
Patiently I worked out the puzzle before me, unweaving the tangled, snarled line. I have learned over the many years I have been fishing that if I become upset or frustrated and express my impatience by tugging it only tightens the mess, but when I calmly unwind what has been woven by accident, it is the fastest way out.
As my fingers worked, my mind drifted. I suddenly realized how in the early days, as much as I found having a rat's nest at the end of my line inconvenient, it was also somehow a relief. When working on a problem in my line that prevented me from fishing, I didn't have the pressure of trying to make a cast when I wasn't yet very skilled. I didn't have to feel like a failure if I couldn't make a decent presentation. I didn't have to feel "rejected" by fish when I put out cast after cast without having so much as a bite. I didn't have to compare myself to Shya or other people who in those days I always felt were better at it than me. In other words, this "problem" with my line used to be a chance to back off and rest. It was certainly less confrontational than fishing.
As I finally unsnarled my tangled lines a thought came swimming up from deep within. I suddenly flashed on my friends who are still dating. "Fishing is a lot like dating," I thought. Sometimes being upset or having a problem with something can be a relief. It's a bit like taking a vacation...in a bad place. When upset or working on a problem that prevent folks from dating, they don't have the pressure of trying to make a date when they aren't yet very skilled. They don't have to feel like a failure if they feel they aren't presentable. When diverted by sorting out a problem, or being lost in an upset, they don't have to feel rejected when they put out "cast after cast" without having so much as a bite. And they don't have to compare themselves to Shya or me or any of the other people who many times they feel are better than they are in the dating, relating arena. In other words, this "problem" with their lives could be used as a chance to back off and rest. It is certainly less confrontational than fishing...or should I say dating. And often times folks are frustrated that they haven't found the one. Guess that is why it is called dating not marriage. Guess there is no substitute for "time on the water".
"Hmm," I thought as I straightened my line, stood up and began casting again.
Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. To find out more about the Kanes and their Transformational Community or to sign up to join their email newsletter, visit their website at: www.TransformationMadeEasy.com. Information about their three award-winning books – Working On Yourself Doesn't Work: The 3 Simple Ideas that will Instantaneously Transform Your Life, How to Create A Magical Relationship: The 3 Simple Ideas that will Instantaneously Transform Your Love Life and Being Here, Modern Day Tales of Enlightenment – is also available on their website. Their latest book, How to Have A Match Made in Heaven: A Transformational Approach to Dating, Relating and Marriage, will be available September 4, 2012.