Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Let's Play Some Ball!"

Every Umpire has a Different "Strike-Zone"

I spent the better part of two decades playing competitive baseball, so it's safe to say I have a far better understanding of Baseball than Fly Fishing. A few months ago I had the pleasure of guiding a young angler who happened to share my passion for baseball. 

It quickly became apparent that this kid could cast, which is a sight for the sore eyes of a guide. We were both excited for the full day ahead. We started to strategically pick apart the river, one deadly accurate cast after another. I started to sense frustration from the young angler's body language when his seemingly perfect cast weren't producing fish. I remembered him telling me during the drive to the river that he was a pitcher. With this in mind, I called a time out from fishing to make a visit to the mound. 

We took a step back from the river and I gave the young angler a simple analogy. I made him imagine he was on the mound in the first inning of a baseball game. I explained that the angler is like a pitcher and the fish is like an umpire behind the plate. I reminded him that it's a pitcher's job to throw strikes. And throwing a perfect fastball right down the gut means nothing if the umpire's strike zone is in a totally different area. In the same respect, just because you make a great cast it doesn't mean it's anywhere near the fish's strike zone. This simple analogy made all the difference in his mental approach, and he spent the next few casts figuring out the strike zone.

By the second inning of fishing, the young angler established command of the strike zone. Before he knew it fish were showing up in the net like "K's" on the outfield fence of a perfect game.

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