On my first visit to the lagoon over a week ago, while standing and watching, I saw a vague wake and made my first cast. Ten minutes later, I landed a 27+" redfish after dragging it back to the boat for a photo. I released it and we headed home.
A week later, just this past Friday, we returned to the same spot and found the same roily conditions with balls of catfish feeding under crazed laughing gulls. There were no obvious signs of redfish, but again I simply stepped off the boat and walked 50 yards and stopped. After a few minutes, I saw the tip of a tail that I thought was a catfish. But not knowing for sure, I casted to it, and stripped the Mother's Day Fly slowly past where its head could have been. I felt a tug, and grimaced, thinking that I would soon have to deal with a catfish at the end of my line. But instead, a fish with considerable authority ripped my line and drove a huge wake in the 9" water. Fifteen minutes later, I landed a 30" red at the boat, took a photo, and released him.
I'm not telling you this as a way of bragging. I am telling you because I was amazed. Both felt, from one perspective, like miracles. But from another perspective, they felt as easy and as natural as a laugh. It happens all the time, as Julie has observed time and again. Why is this possible, you might ask?
What I experience on the water is what I want my clients and friends to experience. Full immersion. When I enter fully into the natural realm without self-consciousness and ambition, everything reveals itself and everything becomes easy. The Buddhists refer to this meditative process as "stopping and seeing." Both are natural components of experiencing fully.
When all agitations have ceased and not a single wave arises, myriad phenomena are clear, without confusion, without obstruction. Thus seeing is not separate from stopping. Once the layers of obscurity have been cleared and no clouding occurs, the ten directions are empty, without stirring, without agitation.
But the paradox inherent in this success is that, fundamentally, I don't have any ambition, or at least not very much. I don't much care if I catch a big fish or not. It occurs to me that when a person with sufficient skill and experience surrenders to the moment, everything becomes possible, but nothing is really needed.