Football season has kicked off. The pun, as you may have assumed, was quite intentional. When it comes to being a football fan and an avid fly fisher, intentionality is the name of the game.
With weekends being the prime time to get on the stream, and those precious two days also being the principal slots for scheduling games, choices have to be made. Additionally, fall is the best time for both activities. Sure, one can wait until the doldrums of winter to eschew river time and crash on the couch. But that argument falls apart when you live in the south, have steelhead or salmon nearby, or are tough enough to put on big boy/girl waders and fish when it’s a little chilly out.
Once again, it is about intentionality.
Are there hatches, runs, or seasons that you really want to fish? Don’t let a regular season game between two teams you marginally care about cause you undue stress.
Is there a match up that your heart or fantasy lineup couldn’t bear to miss watching on live TV? Then go fishing that morning or the next day.
As (surely) a great baker once said, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.” (I always say “you can half your cake and eat it too,” but you don’t read this for my paradigm-shattering philosophical maxims.)
So for whatever it is worth, here is my bit of advice. From a die-hard football fan and sometimes enthusiastic angler, when the choice is put before you I suggest that you fish.
Why? Well, here are three reasons:
DVR This might be a bit of a cop out, but it is legitimate. You can tape anything and everything (regardless of if you have the expressed written consent of some billionaire) and watch it on your own (or your wife’s) timetable.
“But I can’t TIVO all the games!” you whine. First, I don’t believe for a second that you actually have a TIVO. Second, you’re right. You can’t. So be intentional. Pass on the MACtion and get that SEC showdown between Alabama and whoever Nick Saban is going to scowl at for three and a half hours. The Tide will still win, but the highlights that will play throughout the coverage will let you know which good games to check out on the internet.
Oh, yeah. The internet. You can pretty much watch anything you want to watch online! So don’t fuss. TIVO? Seriously?
You’ll never be disappointed if you go fishing. Let me qualify this one. You can be disappointed. You’ll fall in, break a rod, lose a fish, get pooped on by a cormorant, forget the flies you need, etc. etc. etc. But, if you have a journey-is-the-destination mindset you’ll be as happy as a trout during the sucker spawn.
This means that if you’ve preset your brain to appreciate time in nature, moments on the water, and potentially the chance to hook up with a fish or two, you’ll be gaining a lot more than you will flipping back and forth between CBS and FOX on Sunday from 1:00 to 4:30. The games might be real stinkers, but short of a real Field & Stream Survival Stories disaster you’ll have something good to walk away with.
Hindsight is 20/20. On your deathbed, I doubt you will look back and say “I truly regret missing that late game between the Jaguars and Browns.” But mark my words, those moments that you didn’t spend fly fishing will lead to some tormented final breaths before you are unceremoniously snatched from this mortal coil.
Okay, that might be overstating it a bit. But seriously, I can’t imagine couch time trumping river time when reflecting on the way one’s leisure time was spent. Especially if family is involved. A legacy of a spot on the sofa is a lot less touching than the heritage of afternoons on the water. Think of the children.
I’m sure you can think of some other reasons why an intentional analysis of the options will lead to fishing edging out watching football in the fall. Or, you may very well believe the complete inverse to be much more rational and objectively true. I’ll not stand in your way.
At the end of the day, fly fishing and football can live together in autumnal peace. Like dance partners that are both simultaneously rugged and nuanced (think lumberjacks that have taken ballroom dance classes), they can gracefully move about your life in a beautiful cooperative harmony.
[Thus ends the article, and the oddest word picture I have written to this point.]