Reasons We Fish
by Mark Karaba
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
November 2013 Issue
Skilak Lake Alaska
James Reid's Shop
When we get older, we can selectively recall pleasant experiences that make us feel good and even cause us to smile and
possibly alter our mood for a brief moment. The older we get the more movies we store in that place in our brain that allows us to
recall them when we make time to be quiet and still.
Lying in bed at night and struggling with sleep is the time I find myself searching through the archives in my brain and trying
to recall a peacefully soothing event from the past that relaxes me, eventually leading to sleep. These happy thoughts usually
involve moving water - rivers and streams, and trout.
I think of places I have been and fished and, occasionally fish I have caught or lost. But mostly I think of the places themselves.-
beautiful places- quiet places. Most of these places would be in northern Michigan, but there are many choices of places with
flowing water and pleasant sights ,sounds, and smells for me to reflect on.
I have been fortunate to have been in more than my share of beautiful places in forty years of fishing:
The barren landscape of the sub-arctic in northern Quebec with the brilliant spawning colors of the large brook trout.
The endless wild and remoteness of Labrador.
The mountain streams and rivers of West Virginia and Tennessee in the springtime.
The Two Hearted and so many rivers of Michigan's Upper Peninsula that offer an uncrowded and semi-wilderness experience.
I think of the yellow warblers along the banks of Augusta Creek close to my home and the downstream swing of a wet fly on water
to skinny for a back cast; the red bud, dogwoods, and laurel in the mountains of the south; and the most wonderful,and perfect
fly fishing water of the famed AuSable here in Michigan. If I am able to totally lose myself in these pleasant recollections, I can
smell the sweet ferns and cedar along the banks of a northern Michigan river.
I can recall the close, interactive feeling of wet wading on a warm summer afternoon to actually FEEL the water; watching a
delicate, dainty mayfly drift by on the surface; and the Cedar Waxwings perched above, waiting, like me,for the anticipated flight
of these life sustaining insects in the coolness of the northern evening.
The total joy of a stretch of wild water to have to yourself, and realizing you can stop, sit on a log and just be there - alone - and
no one is coming behind you or above you on the river today - just you and the joyous sounds of the yellow warblers flitting along
the bank, the deep blue sky above, and all the time in the world to stop,and just watch the river. Think about all that matters and
push away from thought all that does not matter. Think about the river and how alive it is - as alive as any bird, tree, plant or
I think of these thoughts when sleep won't come to me, and it is the most pleasant thoughts to have in the last waking moments
before sleep. One can only hope that our dreams are filled with such clean, free flowing rivers of thoughts as sleep finally
overtakes our anxious, sometimes worrisome, waking life.
James Marsh fishing Michigan's Boardman River
James Marsh fishing Michigan's Pere Marquette River
Michigan's Little Manistee River
Colorful Brook Trout
Waxwing in Mark's Cedar Tree
Angie Marsh fishing Michigan's AuSable River
About the Author,
Mark Karaba has been fly
fishing for trout for over
forty years. Fly fishing isn't
just his sport, it's his
passion. It isn't just a
matter of catching trout,
it's much, much more. It's
the overall experience.
It's events he can recall
and enjoy again and again.
Movies in which he was
the leading actor. Movies
registered in his brain that
he can play over and over.
Sights, sounds and smells
that lead to total peace
Holy Waters of Michigan's
Copyright 2013 Mark Karaba
n the fall of ones life, it is a time of pause and reflection. The fullness of a mostly used up allowance of time here on this
rock, and a lot less looking ahead. In the case of a life spent in the outdoors, it is like a constant flow of old movies playing
out in that ever expanding theater of the mind.