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#11706973 - 07/06/16 08:24 AM Fly Fishing Hypnosis
Lloyd5 Offline
Angler

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 327
Loc: Bosque County, Texas
Zen: A state of focused attention that brings a togetherness of body and mind.

Hypnosis: A state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention.

Fly fishing has a lot of attractive components. Being outdoors, relief from daily irritants, the thrill of catching a fish. One of the attractions is the peace of mind that comes with fishing. There are many ingredients in a fishing trip (equipment, boats, licenses, travel, etc.), but they are all in the service of focusing down to one specific activity, casting and retrieving. Catching fish results from that activity sometimes. Getting skunked may be a disappointment, but it rarely makes the fishing activity seem negative.

Fly casting and retrieving, in their essence, are rhythmic motions repeated countless times. There is a fluidity to the movements, a sense of liquid flow to the mind and body. Zen is often practiced using a bow and arrow to create a "mindless" moment where the body is directed by deep seated impulses instead of thoughts. When first learning to cast, the new fly fisherman becomes mentally entangled in the physical motions of the cast, entangled with thoughts as he "thinks his way through" each move.

Once the technique is learned it becomes a "muscle memory" movement, one where overt thought is no longer employed as it was in the learning phase. There is also a deep seated satisfaction that comes with making a good cast, when the fly lands exactly where intended. This muscle memory allows the mind to settle down, allows thinking to become less overt, and in the finer moments thinking ceases entirely and the fisherman casts and retrieves in a mental state that is at complete rest, and that rest comes through from a relaxed focus. This mental state is not a vacuum, it is created by a seamless focus on the activity without inner chatter.

This is akin to the state of mind that is sought by the Zen practitioners through meditation and repetitive actions like archery. It is also very similar to a state of self-induced hypnosis. While the fisherman is in this mental/physical state of integration and focus and flow, other thoughts are simply not there. He is not thinking of the stressors in his life, not thinking about tomorrow's activities or yesterday's problems. His mind is in a free state, a place where it can rest and be soothed, where it can relax and regenerate.

That state of mind is largely induced by the rhythmic act of casting and back-casting. Not entirely by that, but that is the main key to it.

It is my thought that this restful mind state is largely what keeps us going back to the water time after time. We seek to catch fish, yes, but we go back anyway even when we don't catch fish for many trips in a row, and we still enjoy doing it.

We all know that fishing is relaxing and helps us to cope with life's obstacles - being mindful of how we get into that focused flow of the mind/body can enhance the experience.


Edited by Lloyd5 (07/06/16 08:31 AM)
_________________________
Texas State Editor: FishExplorer http://www.fishexplorer.com/tx

http://www.amazon.com/River-Proceeds-Wou...ds=on+the+river

Warm Water Fly Fishing Nut

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#11707199 - 07/06/16 10:04 AM Re: Fly Fishing Hypnosis [Re: Lloyd5]
Texjbq Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 02/10/15
Posts: 48
Loc: San Marcos, Tx
I think this is the may reason Fly Fishing sucked me in so hard. I have never found another activity that puts me in an almost traces like state where I have absolute no other thought than, locate fish - present the fly - repeat. I agree that the rhythmic act of casting and back-casting causes this to occur. For me it's so much stronger than when I fished conventionally. When I get back to the truck and am putting away gear I get a very distinct feeling that I am waking up or coming to from a completely different state of consciousness.

I think I'm going to start using this as my explanation for why I only Fly Fish now.

Friend: "So you only fly fish now? What, do you think your fancy?"
Me: " No, I do it because it sorta puts me in a traces."

Is that to weird of an answer?

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#11707280 - 07/06/16 10:37 AM Re: Fly Fishing Hypnosis [Re: Lloyd5]
Abogue77 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 05/08/13
Posts: 108
Loc: Tyler, TX
Harvard dept. of Neurobiology has actually studied this...

http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mah...shing-and-brain

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#11713358 - 07/09/16 08:05 AM Re: Fly Fishing Hypnosis [Re: Abogue77]
Linecaster Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/23/06
Posts: 1065
Loc: Richardson TX
Originally Posted By: Abogue77
Harvard dept. of Neurobiology has actually studied this...

http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mah...shing-and-brain



I think Lloyd's explanation is a far better example of what takes place in the mind and body. Looking back at how I started fly fishing and the thoughts and answers to why I fish are all in the explanation. Thank you for putting it into words. I cannot go back to conventional style fishing, there is nothing in it for me.
_________________________


In the beginning God created. Gen. 1:1
All things were made by him and without him was not anything made. John 1:3

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#11714363 - 07/09/16 09:17 PM Re: Fly Fishing Hypnosis [Re: Lloyd5]
FWBanger Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 07/13/11
Posts: 735
I've fished for many years but I never experienced a zen-like state until I began fly fishing. There is something mesmerizing about that loop unfolding. I have watched fish rise and then spent 45 minutes casting and trying different flies until I finally caught one. Yes, I was happy that I finally caught a fish but as I lowered it back into the water I realized that I had been intently focused but utterly relaxed and content during that whole time. Sasquatch could have strolled up to me and stolen my hat and I probably wouldn't have noticed. What might strike most folks as odd is that the fish was a bluegill. Not a trout, not a trophy bass but a bluegill caught in our beautiful Brazos river. It doesn't have to be an expensive fly-in trip to Alaska or a Lake Fork pig haul to mesmerize me. All I really need is to have that weight forward floating line dancing above my head.
So, if you see me out there fly fishing and I don't return your wave please don't be offended I'm probably "mesmerized". Oh, and please don't steal my hat.
_________________________

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#11717403 - 07/11/16 05:29 PM Re: Fly Fishing Hypnosis [Re: Linecaster]
Abogue77 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 05/08/13
Posts: 108
Loc: Tyler, TX
Originally Posted By: Linecaster
Originally Posted By: Abogue77
Harvard dept. of Neurobiology has actually studied this...

http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mah...shing-and-brain



I think Lloyd's explanation is a far better example of what takes place in the mind and body. Looking back at how I started fly fishing and the thoughts and answers to why I fish are all in the explanation. Thank you for putting it into words. I cannot go back to conventional style fishing, there is nothing in it for me.


Totally agree, I just thought it was cool that Harvard wrote a small article about it.

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