The Search Part II---Tradition

The Search Part II---Tradition

Andy Dear | Sunday, 2 February 2020

Last week I made a vain attempt to make a case for my position that there is indeed a reason that we fish. It is, in fact, my belief that there is not just one, but multiple reasons that drive us to engage in the craft of angling. I'd like to explore as many of these as possible over the next several weeks because I think it's a worthwhile pursuit for a multitude of reasons, the primary of which is that it's just really damned interesting.

  One of the things I've noticed about myself over the last several decades is that I am very much a creature of tradition. There's something about the self-imposed responsibility of carrying on the activities of one's ancestors out of respect for the lives they lived that strikes a loud chord in my soul. And, as I get older I find myself more often than not making decisions about how I spend my time based upon how my ancestors spent theirs.

  From the areas I fish to the tackle I fish with, to the type of firearm(s) I use to hunt game with, right down to the type of Bourbon I drink, tradition has become a primary motivating factor in my life. My dad loved to fish Powderhorn Lake, so my son and I more often than not find ourselves exploring "the horn" for Redfish. My cousin John Tally, who was a gunsmith had a deep affection for the classic European Military/Hunting caliber, the 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser. So, out of respect and admiration for his skills as a gunsmith and a hunter, I now hunt deer with nothing but the 6.5 Swede. And speaking of hunting, I also have a new found love affair with the 16 gauge shotgun for wing shooting. Although the 16 gauge becomes a little more obsolete every year here in the USA, the fact that my Great Uncle Datie McCrory used to walk miles in the piney woods of Mississippi hunting Quail with a Browning A5 in 16 gauge was a driving factor in my decision to spend my time in the woods with the "sweet sixteen".

  I know some of you are probably wondering about the Bourbon reference. Well, my grandfather William Chapman, for most of his life was a traveling liquor salesman. The main brand he represented was Four Roses. Subsequently, my adult libation of choice has become Four Roses Small Batch. For the uninitiated, it is an absolutely exquisite drop when served neat, or with a splash of water. More importantly it reminds me of my Grandfather, and the love and respect he had for fine firearms, good whiskey, and hard work.

  All of these things, when examined on the surface appear to be simply a nod to those in one's lineage for purposes of respect and admiration. But on a much deeper level, it can, and should be a way of reaching back into the past and putting oneself in touch, at least in a spiritual sense with those who are responsible for giving us life, and subsequently shaping those lives. And for me, it becomes even more personal when one engages in those acts with a mindset and purpose that aligns itself with those who we are trying to honor.

  So it is with tradition in mind that almost every decision I make in my angling life is made. From where I fish, to what I fish with, to what is in the glass I raise at the end of the day in honor of those who came before me. For as the famous English writer G.K. Chesterton once said "Tradition does not mean the living are dead, but that the dead are living"

Hope you all have a great week.