The pervasive smell of fish — both living and dead, the cool pockets of air left over from the night, and the occasional howl of a coyote roaming the tidal flats — each familiar sensation greeted me as part of a rich, expansive experience of arriving at the one place most precious to me in all of the world. And above all, it is where he comes to feel most at home in the world.
I had just turned 19, and was away from home for the first time as a freshman at the University of Texas in Austin.
Virginia Fly Fishing Report 2/13/2016
The experience began as an ordinary dream in which I was returning home from my college classes, carrying my books. As I approached my home, which bore no resemblance whatsoever to my actual home or dormitory, I realized suddenly that I was dreaming. I looked at my body and was amazed at how real everything seemed. Marveling at this paradox, I approached large black double-doors with ornate brass handles and opened them.
I entered the small room, which appeared to be a chapel. The white light bathed everything, and the sense of being home was total and complete. At one point, I carried a crystal rod upright, over which a spinning circle of crystal was poised in midair. No one was there to explain the mystery of the light, or the immense purpose that I felt. Even today, when I think about this experience, I can feel something of what I felt then — so totally fulfilled and so completely at home.
Like the Hindu meditator who evokes the experience of the Divine by repeating the mantric words neti, neti — not this, not that — he says that fishing is really about something that cannot be easily named. As a fisherman matures on his home waters, this becomes increasingly clear.
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Indeed, I think that all great anglers eventually realize what the great mystics have always known — that the fulfillment of the quest is never exactly what you expect it to be. And while the true goal cannot be easily named, we know when we are drawing close to it when we begin to feel completely at home in the world. Scott Sparrow's book an inspiration to read.
I recommend this book highly as a journey especially for men, and for women who appreciate their men. What this book has, which is perhaps lacking in many popular spiritual books, is showing the author as a human being living his life journey as all of us can live ours. Scott Sparrow will take you through your own childhood relationship with a parent and how that affects you in adult life, not by giving you psychology, but by your participating in certain life episodes important to him personally and spiritually.
The book is an excellent read in the Americana of being in nature in only the way Americans do it. Scott admits he grew up as a competitor and still is one in his chosen sport of serious fly fishing in South Texas. He is strong in his relationships with men. Scott is a man's man but not macho.
He is not interested in seducing women but in relating to them. He is not interested in boasting to his fellow males about his accomplishments, yet he is interested in doing extremely well at what he does. There is another side to Scott Sparrow. He has been since childhood a natural mystic because of his dreams. Dreams have always signaled new developments in his life for better and for worse. Scott is no saint, as he is sure to reveal to us. Yet he redeems himself through remorse and action.
Other places to fly fish near the Farm
He not only achieves impressively in the world and in the sport of fly fishing, he also works on himself. This is a male who works on himself, girls, the ideal man! And men, watch out! You need to work on yourselves also and take how your behavior affects others with genuine conscience. But Scott is at times even deeper because his dreams have transpersonal elements of white light experiences and revelations.
In a nature society of the past he would be known as both a warrior and spirit shaman. Read this book for yourself so that you may experience what it is like to quest on a spiritual journey, yet not give up your ordinary life you were born to. Scott does not retreat into monasteries and Himalayan caves.
He goes sports fishing, and he takes his dad and son, and his best male friend with him, and also his pilot brother. And he brings his wife also because she has adapted to the fly fishing way of life. Recommended for many levels of reading: Father-son relating, Right relationship relating with the opposite sex, inner-outer relating with oneself, spiritual awakening and individual God-relating through dreams, practice of devotion and visions.
Scott does not hide his shadow, his extreme side that sometimes hurts himself and others. Scott grows up into a real adult and tells us some of those episodes. Yet, while Scott is personally revealing he is never narcissistic completely. His natural self-centeredness is balanced with devotion to others close to him and by his extraordinary dreams which he takes seriously, learning from them that he is not in charge. Scott is a fine, natural writer, finding just the right words to convey emotion and experience together, crisp in language. No extra words there in his prose. Probably he learned from fly fishing, which is his great metaphor for living life spiritually.
Apparently only the right fly will do. Good writers feel the same way. Only the right words will do to convey the right feeling and essence of an experience. Read Scott Sparrow and enjoy a few hours out of your own life into his. You will appreciate the contrast. I for one got to live again my boyhood. I use him and his father as the father I might have liked to have, had I not my own father to deal with. I felt right at home on the Bayou, so to speak. Oh, Scott gets into trouble. You cannot believe his unconsciousness in not getting himself treated right away after a terrible wounding by a stingray.
But that is Scott! He never presents himself as perfect, and neither am I. And neither are you, reader. So enjoy his book, as I am. Recommended for adults who travel inwardly, for high school and university classrooms in contemporary American literature that reflect a genuine experience of connecting the past and present in the America of today.
For students also to do good book reviews and essays, and to feel in tune with their own appreciation of life.
Download PDF Fly Fishing the Rose River: An Excerpt from Fly Fishing Virginia
A real book, unlike so many books that stay in the mind, or let you live through others and not yourself. A psychotherapist, university professor, fly fishing guide, and author of three previous books, all these sides of Scott shine through in a tale that is both very personal and at the same time full of universal wisdom.
But fishing is simply a metaphor, as the reader quickly discovers. In certain ways this book reminds me of one of my favorites , Golf in the Kingdom by Michael Murphy. It too is not what it first looks to be. Both books powerfully show us that the sacred can be discovered in even the ordinariness of a hobby or sport.
However, the wound in need of healing is no mere scrape or bruise. Making it a modern and autobiographical tale, Scott tells of his own wounds. He masterfully weaves together stories from different periods in his life, describing encounters with vulnerability, loss, and the renewal of love. Perhaps most importantly, this book invites you to reframe your own life-story — to see how your own autobiography is a journey about healing. It was a masterpiece for me.
It spoke to my soul. I hooked him and he wagged his head, dove and sought the protection of rocks and roots that would break my fragile nylon leader. I kept him in the open, forcing him back into the current. That, and the flex of my little bamboo rod, soon tired him. I leaned down, plunged my arm elbow deep into the numbing water and lifted the fish out. His dark olive back glistened in the sun, his pale gold flanks spotted with fiery red and yellow.
His lower fins were orange, edged in creamy white piping. My fish had the thrusting jaw and deep, firm belly of a male in prime condition. He was about 12 inches long. I unhooked him and eased the trout into the water. He darted, unharmed, into the shadows. Perhaps I'd catch him another day. Within the park, the Rapidan is a fish-for-fun stream, on which anglers must return all trout to the river.
Fishermen are prohibited from using bait, and they are required to fish with lures that have a single, barbless hook. Wardens patrol the waters regularly. Through the afternoon I caught 28 fish.
Accotink Creek (Tail water DH - VA)
They were like the first - impulsive risers, strong, brilliant, worthy of praise. I immersed myself in the rhythm of the casting, in the effort of the wading, in the hypnotic dance of a fly on a river. On such afternoons, time dissolves and I half expect to round a bend to find an old man there ahead of me, fishing the next pool.
He would be wearing waders, of course, but this man would look out of place, in his stiff collar, tie, black coat and Panama hat. Herbert Hoover was a keen angler, and the Rapidan was his favorite stream. If the 31st President has a ghost, I am sure it would haunt this place, as Hoover did in life. Friends recall that he would come straight from the White House, so excited by the sight of the stream that he seldom took time to change clothes before sloshing in. Here he could forget, if only for the moment, the infernal heat of the capital and the deepening tragedy of the Great Depression.
Perhaps critics will say that Hoover's fishing was like Nero's fiddling. I suppose they are right, but I cannot suppress an angler's sympathy for the man. I know precisely how he felt when he returned here after time away to find his beloved river as he remembered it, sliding under the hemlocks, promising a few hours of escape.
Visitor Centers. Books, slides, postcards, maps and posters are sold at both centers. Each August, the park service sponsors ''Hoover Days'' at Big Meadows to commemorate Herbert Hoover's establishment of a fishing camp on the Rapidan River; for two days the park service provides free transportation to Camp Hoover so the public can visit Hoover's summer White House, a group of cabins. As of late last week in Shenandoah National Park, brook trout were not in spawning mode just yet. Though my preference is wild trout fishing, getting some stocked rainbows and bringing a couple home for dinner was certainly a fun time.
The owner of Double Spur, Levi, is making sure it is, at least in the upper section on the nearly four miles of stream that he owns. Plus, there is at least one tributary that has wild brookies that may find their way downstream, though we did not encounter any. It was a beautiful Tuesday to play hooky. Thankfully, not a single one of those dozens of cars except ours brought any fly fisherman.
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The water was high from all the recent rains. We fished Brokenback Run first, a new stream for me.