Where the Fly Rod Leads by Mark Usyk
There’s been a lot of “How did I get here” questions in my head recently. There’s been almost an equal amount of “Where am I going” questions to counter the former. Then there’s the questions of what fly rod should I take, but that may be getting ahead of myself. No, I’m talking about assessing life. Maybe it’s the midnight shift at a thankless job that I feel no sense of accomplishment at the end of the day that merely “pays the bills.” Maybe it’s the looking back at opportunities missed or ignored in the past that may have lead me in other directions. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ll be 40 in a couple months and this is that mid-life crisis thing I always doubtingly contorted my face at the mention of as something that wasn’t real. Something that only existed in the minds of men who suddenly realized they hadn’t ever truly lived and were suddenly half way or more through life.
Whatever it is, even though fishing in general has always been a part of my life, gotten me through good times and bad, the fly rods I visit the water with today have truly changed my mindset and the way I travel through the world day to day. They've brought me a focus I thought I once had before but that I know I truly did not have until now. For years I thought it was hot rods and motorcycles that made the world turn and kept me sane, but in the end sane was far from what they kept me. If you’ve never heard the true definition of insanity, it’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. The sanity I thought came from it all in the end turned out to be insanity and I sold all of my shop equipment and tools. I gave away hundreds of books, magazines, parts, and even a project bike. Gave it away. But it wasn’t until discovering fly fishing that I was able to do it and never regret it.
How did I get here and where am I going? Where ever the fly rod leads me I guess. I love writing about fly fishing. It’s something that came out of nowhere and came fairly easy once it started. Seeing JP handcrafting such beautiful and functional rods tugs at strings still attached to the creative part of me that still wants to work with my hands. And lately over the past couple years I’ve fantasized in my head about how great it could be to open a fly shop. No, it probably wouldn’t pay the bills, it definitely wouldn’t provide the health insurance policy my union job provides for my family, and the capital to buy all the inventory to start it up doesn’t exist, but it’s still a fun day dream when your day actually starts at 12am. I toyed with the idea of doing it part time, but then when would I have time to fish? Well that wouldn’t do now would it?
Life isn’t easy, most anyone can tell you that. Life is a hell of a lot harder for a diehard fishbum…I can tell you that. I know where I’ve been in life and have a pretty good picture in my head of how I got here. Some of it I’d take back if I could, and yet other things I wouldn’t change for anything. But where am I going from here? I don’t know. Well, that’s not entirely true. Once I decide which fly rod I’m taking…I’m going fishing. Life is short. Don’t waste any more time that you can’t get back. Get a fly rod. Find some water. It’s the one thing I promise you won’t regret. Simply Fish.