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The Art of Fly-Fishing

The Art of Fly-Fishing

A couple of years ago, I met Art. He was a kind and gentle man, with a rust-belt resume and a quick smile. Art was tall and lean, clearly an athlete. He was still playing tennis and fly-fishing. By the way, he was 92!
Art impressed me immediately as someone I wanted to get to know better. A handsome man, his gentle smile was inviting, and showed a wealth of experience to be shared freely. There was much to learn from this man and I sensed it.
“Art, tell me about your tennis game?” I inquired. “There’s not much to tell. I still play weekly. The game is not what it once was. I still enjoy playing. I understand you enjoy fly-fishing?”
“Oh yes!” I replied. “I just started a couple of years ago. I’m not very good at it, but I am getting it and learning a lot.”
“Where do you go to fly-fish?” Art inquired.
“Wyoming, in the Jackson Hole area.” I responded.
“What are you fishing for?” Art asked.
“The native fish in Jackson Hole is the cutthroat trout. They don’t get very big, but they are really fun to catch.” There was an indescribable twinkle in his eyes. A memory perhaps, of his own dance with a trout somewhere in the mountains, in years gone by. His smile widened, inviting me into his recollection.
“That sounds so exciting! What is your favorite fly” Art asked.
“I like to fish through a tandem hopper-dropper. That is so you can fish 2 zones, one on top of the water with the hopper and the other sub-surface with the dropper. The hopper imitates a grasshopper. The dropper or nymph is below the surface and looks like a fly before it emerges and gets its wings and flips away from the surface of the water. They call this a hatch. Various types of flies hatch during different periods of the summer.”
Art smiled. We shared a passion. Across many state lines and decades, we connected at a level deeper than anyone watching, or listening could imagine. I smiled at Art, knowing what had just happened. I was the trout that had just got caught and then was gently released back into the water.
We shared a passion, “a thing arousing great enthusiasm” – Oxford Living Dictionary. That moment seemed timeless. Art was seeing me as vulnerable as I can be and was also sharing my passion.
There are so many things to learn from Art. The selflessness of asking someone to tell us about them. The connection that brings us together. The genuineness that allows us to be open.

Art had no idea of the impact our meeting had on me. There is no way that he would have. He just lived life that way.
Art had little reason to think of me after our encounter. I, on the other hand, have thought of Art often, while on the banks of the Snake River. I am still trying to catch that big trout that is surely under the debris pile or in the next eddy or somewhere else.
Rest in Peace my friend.
I thought that was the end of my blog, but it wasn’t. The equity markets, like fly-fishing, require the we continue to learn. Our experiences give us some advantage. Often, we learn what not to do. Sometimes, we learn things that will work again in the future, like fishing multiple zones.
My experience tells me to be careful with the current market, as there are some cracks in the underpinnings. Our seasonal entry is not due for at least a couple of weeks. Often, there is volatility before the entry. As in fly-fishing, we must wait to set the hook.
Good fishing!