10 Life Lessons You'll Learn on The Water, Not on The Couch

By Ben Duchesney | Tuesday, October 18

Because "Fly Fishing Saves Lives"

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Photo Courtesy of Captain Harry Tomlinson

This piece originally appeared on The Wade, The Postfly Blog

I’m one of the many that believe fly fishing will not only make you enjoy life more fully, but that it’ll also make you a better person (and even save your life). There are many things that only fly fishing can teach you and here at Postfly, we think the more time you spend on the water, the more you’ll learn how to live a better life.

That’s why we wanted to gather some of the best lessons we’ve all learned, just to make sure you didn’t miss anything. After all, just because you’re out on the water, that doesn’t mean you’re listening. (You’re just too damn busy catching fish, we get it).

1) Sunrises Are Better Than Sunsets

Sure I’ll go “ooh” and “ahh” at a nice sunset, especially if I didn’t catch any fish that day, (#skunkset), but hands down I’d rather watch the sun rise than fall. It’s flat-out amazing to watch the world come alive around you, especially when you’re catching fish left and right as you do it.

The problem with watching a sunrise is that you have to get up early enough to see it. Sure that price of admission may sound steep to some people, but the show is well worth it. If you can’t remember the last time you watched a sunrise, you need to get up early tomorrow.

An Angler Drags His Gear Through The Marsh
Hard work will reward you with better stories and a stronger character, once you stop huffing and puffing.

2) Don’t Be Afraid To Work

You’re not going to learn anything or progress as an angler unless you’re willing to put in a little work at the start. Life is the same exact way. Sure you can wait around on the couch and wait for someone to hand you a beer and a sandwich, but that sandwich tastes so much better when you’ve made it yourself and had to hike three miles through the woods to get to the river before you could enjoy it. Speaking of sandwiches…

3) Food Tastes Better When You’re Hungry

Sometimes when I’m fishing I’m constantly eating, but most of the time I’ll forget to eat at all until a few hours later when there’s a lull in the action. As soon as I remember that I have to eat something I’ll be starving. What follows will be one of the best meals of your life, even if it’s just a soggy granola bar and two sips of water.

4) Real Conversations Require Listening 

Sure you can probably be half asleep when you’re listening to your co-workers talk at the water cooler, but when you’re sitting in the same boat as another human being you’re forced to listen. When you listen, you’ll realize you have a lot more in common with this other person and everything you say in return will be smarter, kinder and have a deeper impact in their life. The same goes for listening off the water.

A Group Of Anglers Row Out Looking For Fish
Everything you do in the boat will affect the other anglers around you, so be mindful of your actions.

5) We’re All In The Same Boat

Every action you take directly influences everyone around you when you’re in the same boat as other people. Life is the same way, so make sure your actions can hold up under a magnifying glass. Going through life thinking only of yourself is a sad and dangerous way to live.

6) Real Life Is Not In Your Cubicle 

The rat race has a way of clouding your thoughts and cramming in a lot of…well, bullshit. If it’s Saturday you shouldn’t be thinking about the office, you should be too busy getting outside and throwing a fly to a big fish. That is “real life” and “reality,” not your job. Actually, you should probably be thinking about that during the week too, but don’t tell the boss we said that.

7) Nature Heals

No matter how awful and soul-sucking your work week is, spending just a few minutes outside will make you a better person and help you deal with the stresses of this modern world better than everyone else around you that doesn’t. No you don’t need a triple-shot mocha espresso enema, you need to soak up the sun on the river.

Four Anglers Warm Themselves By The Fire In Upstate New York
Enjoy surround sound and true-to-life high definition entertainment by sitting by the fire all night long.

8) Fire Is Better Than Netflix 

The original entertainment system, the campfire will not only keep conversations going all night long, but it will also cook your food, make your coffee in the morning and warm your sore bones after a long day fishing. (And no, that Netflix fire doesn’t count).

9) It’s The Little Things

I know, I’ve probably said this so many times on this blog now that it’s becoming a cliche, but you’d be surprised how many people I talk to that can’t appreciate the way a grasshopper can hang onto a blade of grass in the wind. Amazing. Or that sound the wind makes when it blows softly through a forest. Incredible. You don’t need badass explosions to be entertained.

10) Suffering Makes Better Stories 

No great tale ever started with “So I was sitting on the couch playing Madden the other day…” Instead, they start with a shake of the head and a knowing smile, saying, “That sucked, but man that was a good trip.” The best trips of my life were the ones that were absolute hell during the experience, but afterwards had richer stories and life lessons to talk about around the campfire. Life is the same way, sure it may kick you down a few times, but you’ll be more interesting than the person that had life handed to them. Suffering builds character. Suffering can be fun (later).


Want to get out there and live your life the way it was meant to be lived? Sign up for Postfly today and Join The Tribe of thousands of fly anglers all over the world that know what’s up. 

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