Selective Memory

Selective Memory

Andy Dear | Sunday, 25 August 2019

Last week Jackson and I were taking a stroll down memory lane, browsing through some of his childhood pictures on my computer. Inadvertently mixed in with some of those were some photos from back in 2004 of the several trips I took to South Louisiana to fly fish for Redfish and Black Drum. I have some great memories that came off the deck of Captain Danny Ayo's skiff, and these photos were a not so subtle reminder of how vivid many of those memories really are 15 years later.

  On our first trip, Danny and I fished for 2 consecutive days together. As detailed in a previous Front Page, he was a great guide, with a unique Cajun flair about him. We became fast friends and got to know each other pretty well. But it was on our second trip about a year later that we had a unique discussion about "fishing memories" that has always stuck with me. I don't recall exactly what the impetus of the conversation was, but we got to discussing how for many of us that are as obsessed with this great sport as we are, that we can recall vivid details about fishing events that have happened many years before, but can't necessarily remember things that happened the previous week.

  I remember Danny telling me "You know my wife can't understand how I am not able to remember certain details about our marriage, but I can tell you very detailed stories about most of the Redfish I've caught on a fly rod in my life". I replied that I too had those same experiences regarding many, if not most of my angling experiences. If I were to be at all honest I would have to admit that most of the good things that have happened in my life have happened with a fishing rod in my hand, and most likely BECAUSE I had a fishing rod in my hand. And while I am being honest, those memories most certainly occupy a space on a shelf in my mind that holds a much different level of priority and importance than just about anything else.

  Since then I have had this same conversation many times with my good friend Captain Freddy Lynch. What surprises me about Freddy is that sometimes he'll remember fish I caught, even when I don't. Not long ago we were fishing the southern end of the Upper Laguna Madre in a spot I have sworn not to mention by name. Out of nowhere, Freddy said, "Do you remember that time back in '07 when you were gettin' em over on the east shoreline with that 6wt?" And I will tell you, even though I hadn't thought about that particular experience in quite a while, all it took was one crack, and the dam burst and the memories literally came flooding back. Weather details, fly patterns, water clarity, specific schools of fish, what I was wearing...even the dialogue we shared while stalking those big tailers is as fresh as if it happened yesterday.

  I've thought a lot about this, and it's interesting to me because there are people who enjoy fishing, but that's pretty much where it ends. Their angling related memories don't seem to be held in the same reverence as say their friends birthdays or the anniversary of their first date with a significant other. Then on the other end of the spectrum, there is a different type of individual. The type whose heart and soul are so stirred by the simple act of angling, and the significance and importance of the physical interaction with fish of any type , that those experiences are burned into their minds in an infinitely deeper, much more permanent way.

  Since I seem to fall in the latter category, I am not really in an unbiased position to make a judgment about where exactly this type of personality trait falls on the spectrum of good and bad. I suppose its probably a matter of who is doing the judging.  I will say this; if you do have a significant other, and you value that relationship even remotely close to as much as you do your fishing, your ability to remember anniversaries and birthdays at some point better rival your ability to remember how many strands of Krystal Flash you put on that Borski Bonefish Slider, that caught a 32.45" Redfish, 37 minutes into a flood tide, that had a heart-shaped spot on the third scale halfway down his tail.....dont ask me how I know.

Hope you all have a great week,