Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pete Townshend and Fly Fishing



I'm a casual fan of The Who.  Recently, I was faced with a four hour cross country plane ride and nothing to read.  The airport bookstore had virtually nothing of interest aside from Pete Townshend’s autobiography; Who I Am.  While not a huge Who fan, I am a huge fan of classic rock and roll and love reading firsthand accounts of how bands are formed, who and what influenced their developing sound, and the oftentimes outlandish stories of their debauchery once they become famous.  The book was very well done and certainly a suggested read, however, what I didn't count on was finding one of the most poignant quotes about fly fishing I have ever read.

“On my first Isle of Man fishing trip, I had a fiasco with a huge trout and was consoling myself by playing harmonica in the rain.  I got lost in the sound of the mouth organ, and then had the most extraordinary, life-changing experience.  Suddenly I was hearing music within the music- rich, complex harmonic beauty that had been locked in the sounds I'd been making.  The next day I went fly fishing, and this time the murmuring sound of the river opened up a well-spring of music so enormous that I fell in and out of a trance.  It was the lifelong connection to rivers and the sea- and what to might be described as the music of the seas.” 


Pete Townshend found his musical inspiration in the loss of a huge trout, fly fishing, and the sounds of a river as a young child. This articulates the reason we all fly fish.  It’s not about the fish. It is about our personal inspirations found in the water.  The fish are an excuse to immerse ourselves in the soul filling environment of sing song Red-Winged Blackbirds, chirping grasshoppers, and water rushing over rock.  Pete Townshend is one of us; he is a Troutologist.