It’s difficult not to philosophize when discussing fly fishing. The mixture of science (objectivity) versus art (subjectivity) demands it at a certain point.
In the beginning, it feels like a black art. The cast seems like something only a sorcerer could master. The mind hardly even knows where to begin at this point. The art of it is sublime and the thought of becoming proficient is daunting.
As one becomes more familiar with the techniques the framework for understanding begins to develop and the mystique slowly begins to melt away. Of course, the mechanics make sense. They must make sense. Otherwise, none of this would work. The part of your brain that could in anyway comprehend this at the start slowly but surely becomes attuned to the subtle movements and stops that make up adequate casting. Science has won out, and all of the mysteries of the world seemingly reveal themselves to be made up of all the deterministic properties one would initially assume it to be.
But like anything worth-while pursuit, there’s always more to it.
The more you learn the more you understand how much you don’t know. As the constructs of forage life cycles and fish habitats solidify so does the confidence of the angler. This is undeniable, but so is it to say that this is all. One may be able to identify the Latin name of genera and species of insects, its morphology, and distribution. The Ephemeroptera guttulata and its complementary predator’s ecology has been perfected and dissected; however, at some point, the realization sets in that his or her ability to fully understand the richness of such a relationship remains incomplete. The justifications for the sizes and hatches and whatnots begin to become contingent on factors like the way the sun sets over the tree line, weather patterns, and other factors that cannot be precisely explained. The mind can only go so deep.
And so we’ve come full circle.