Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Birding v. Trouting







No decision is actually needed in this case. Trout season doesn't open for a little more than a week. Still, I've been thinking "deep thoughts" about both hobbies. They are very similar actually. To be successful you need to be very observant. Close to nature works best. The best trout fishing is invariably away from the crowd. Birding too. In often the most beautiful of places. Crowds of people might work once in a while for birding but I suspect solitary or with one other person is also the best just like troutfishing. You need to be quiet. They both require a type of stalking. Trout fishermen are often accused of being the "elitist" types. When the sport was invented in England that was probably true. Trout streams were the private property of the landed aristocracy. Birders sometime's get charged with incipient "dweeb or geekism."






It's easy enough to get involved in the minutia of either sport. Should I get technical about hatches and gear or binoculars and minute differences in color? Tell how to "read the water" or recognize bird songs. The point is that the birder or the trout fisherman is out and about amongst nature. What could be better than that?






Then there are the stories that come with each hobby. Like the time I caught a bat who was attracted to my homemade fly. Or the time I was trapped against a cliff in Yellowstone while two testosterone crazed elk had it out right in front of me. Or the time that Tony and I were hiking,flyrod in hand, up a steep trail in the Bitterroots and came upon my first and only Great Grey Owl, who was drowsing on a branch of a Ponderosa Pine right above our heads.






The tendency and the need to place close attention to things and the time to contemplate about them is why trout fishing has produced the only real "literature" in the fishing genre. I mean, what are you going write about thats really interesting with a $70,000 dollar bass boat, 3 guys on a polluted river and 2 cases of beer?






What is truly appealing about both of these sports? A number of years ago, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Michigan , who wrote a best selling novel (Anatomy of a Murder), which later became a movie starring Jimmy Stewart, answered that question in a way of which I've always liked. Although it's about trout fishing I think it easily applies to birding as well.






TESTAMENT OF A TROUT FISHERMAN:






I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly; because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted social posturing I thus escape; because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience; because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don't want to waste the trip; because mercifully there are no telephones on trout waters; because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness; because bourbon out of an old tin cup always tastes better out there; because maybe one day I will catch a mermaid; and, finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant - and not nearly so much fun. -John Voelker (Robert Traver)

18 comments:

  1. I loved this post! Beautifully explains the joys of trout fishing.

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  2. to breathe the fresh air, to smell the scents of the woods and waters,... either birding or fishing, you can't lose!

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  3. It is so funny that you posted this today because I was frustrated all day with all of the people on the nature trails and waters edge. They were obnoxious, littered and drove their loud four wheelers. I got to thinking that the only people I liked on the nature trails besides fellow birders were polite hikers and those who fish!! LOL

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  4. I like your emphasis on the quiet attention demanded of flyfishing and birding. Even some of my hiking and skiing friends get so into the fitness aspect of the sport that they forget to pay attention to the beauty.

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  5. Beautiful Post, and I really enjoyed the Testament of A Trout Fisherman:)

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  6. Very nice, Troutbirder. With the coming of spring, one's sap begins to flow, doesn't it!

    I especially love the photo of the osprey's two-fisted catch. WoW!

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  7. Great post Troutbirder! I totally get this!

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  8. I will say "AMEN" for my hubby~! He is getting geared up for the trout...

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  9. As far as I am concerned, these two go hand in hand and the one is not exclusive of the other. The world of one is the world of the other so it is easy to have a fishing rod in one hand and a camera around the neck for the other. :)

    The things you mentioned are the same which have attracted me to nature and wildlife / insect photography. There is nothing the the quiet solitude with no cars, people, telephones etc. I always say I am alergic to nothing except noise and people. LOL!!

    My husband and I used to love fishing too, but I mostly just fed the fish and watched the birds. don't eat fish anyway. :)

    That is a fantastic shot of the Osprey by the way. WHat an excellent capture!!

    An excellent post Troutbirder. :)

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  10. Troutbirder,
    So well said..the solitude one finds while in the wood or on the water is indescribable and waiting for fish to bite or a bird to appear is exciting and rewarding...

    ..my Dad always told a fishing joke that contained the part where the fishermen had just purchased several cases of beer and two loaves of bread and the punch line was..What the h-- are you gonna do with all that bread!

    enjoyed your post! Good luck on the lake?

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  11. Nice post - like fresh air! I've never really liked fishing personally - I always feel sad and guilty whan I catch something. Mr. Geek loves fly fishing, though, and loves to tie his own flies. But being out enjoying nature and solitude - there's nothing better!

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  12. What a very nice post this is! I must say I agree - I'd rather "bird" by myself, or only with my husband, who has infinite patience and indulges all my whims where birding is concerned. He's well-trained and when we're backroading, if I holler stop, he stops the pickup immediately, or if I just pat his arm, he knows to stop. Love it.

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  13. A great post. The main similarity I see between fishing & birding is "the planning vs. the seeing." For either I can go out with the intent of pursuing a certain fish or bird - but I almost always see some other thing that is most memorable.

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  14. I have to say, John Voelker isn't describing why he fishes, he is describing why he likes to be outside in a scenic place where there happen to be fish. And "...because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience" doesn't seem a valid reason for killing them, in fact it would seem just the opposite. OK, I've said it, I just could not help myself.

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  15. beautiful pics...you and my husband would get along...all he wants to do is fish also.

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  16. 1st photo is awesome, wonderful post. It is the reason we get out there in nature. Takes the cares of the world away for that short time.

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  17. Wow, a fish for each foot. Amazing photo. A great fisherbird.

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  18. A little late...but yes! What he said! I've always underestimated my reasons for the love of fishing, my favorite-fly fishing. Beauty and focus, meditative stillness, light and water reflecting off the line and boom! The ark of the pole...awwwww!

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