As a magician I have learned in my craft that our vision is not as we imagine it to be. I have honed my skills as a magician to take advantage of this fact. You see our vision is not a constant linear story we are witnessing. It is very much like a film with lots of pictures being sent to our brains and processed. Between these frames are spaces where a magician can take advantage of and steal a move in a psychological moment. This skill set of mine requires me to know when those breaks in the picture happen. I realized that when I am fishing though I forget this element. I find suddenly that I have forgotten that I don't see everything that is going on and suddenly I have lost another fly to a treetop.
We need to take the practice of both "looking" and "seeing". I know that I get in a headspace some times on the stream and rush from one hole to the next and one cast to the next. But now I am working on learning to "look" and to "see". When we go out onto the water we have a tendency to be too focused on the activity and we glaze over the details of the experience. Our attention is only on the "idea" of the task at hand and we forgo actually stopping long enough to be present to what is happening in the moments.
You can take notice when you are starting down this mode of being. We start to rush in and maybe step too soon into the water and potentially scare the fish we are stalking. Or maybe we step into a hole or trip on a tree root. I know that in some of the places I fish that can lead to twisted ankles or even having to crawl up a steep ravine with an injury. So this practice of mindfulness of looking and seeing can actually be life saving.
There is actually great added enjoyment when we slow down and look and see. We notice details like rocks, trees, the water, wildlife, and even smells and temperatures. Before we cast we should take a breath and look around us. See our relationship within the picture we are part of and be in our place.
When we focus on stopping, looking and seeing we not only become better anglers, seeing fish that we wouldn't have lurking by a rock, but we also find more peace and less anxiousness in the way that we fish. Our casts can become more focused as we watch the line, watch the fly, the drift and the hook set. Then as we watch the fish on the line move as we bring it closer to us we can avoid getting the fish snagged.
With a fish to net and/or hand we can take that moment to appreciate the fish for it's beauty and the magic of the moment we have in time and space with this encounter with wildlife. Finally we watch the fish return to the water and we can pause again.