“As no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler.”
― Izaak Walton
At one point in my life I fancied myself an artist. I would craft sculptures out of bronze, plaster and found objects. I would paint for hours only to decide to white wash the canvas and start over. I studied art in college and earned a degree from it.
The hardest thing I had to do to learn to be an artist was to learn how to get my tools to do what I wanted them to. Anyone can buy a chisel or paintbrush and create something. It may or may not be successful as art. Fishing is not so different.
I can buy the exact same equipment as the top angler in the country but I most likely cannot match his angling prowess. What's the difference? Preparation, study, practice and a dash of natural ability. So many people have great dreams but are afraid to wake up and do something about them. Chasing your dreams can be fun but it is work. Hard work. Walton had it right. Everyone can get lucky or fish a short lived pattern and appear to be good but even Ernest Hemingway said "Anyone can be an angler in May."
Those anglers on the big stage, the ones whose names are on your gear, they work their tails off to be there. Not one of those top anglers woke up at six years old and started slaying fish on highly pressured public waters. Not one.
What does that mean?
You really can be whatever you want to be but you have to be the first to invest in it.
Chasing your dreams can mean staying up late, studying, preparing, working on your craft, learning the ins and outs of every spring, gear and guide of your equipment. You have to invest in you. When you stay up late with whiskey and cigars, decide you'll work on your craft later, study maps later, retune that bait later, you postpone your dream. You make a choice every morning what to do.
I would love to work for a kayak industry company, traveling the country preaching kayak fishing, safety and even wet a line in some new places. Do you know why I haven't?
I don't know if it would replace my current income. I don't know how often I would get to see my family. I don't have answers to lots of questions. Is it even possible?
I don't know if that dream will ever become a reality. Whose fault is it? Mine.
I have found a new love. I am chasing a different dream right now. I am finding ways to preach kayaking without succumbing to my fears. I try to reach as many people as I can through this little blog that keeps growing each week thanks to readers just like you. Though it doesn't pay the bills, it doesn't keep me from it either. The throngs that are joining kayak fishing each week right now give me great hope that the world is realizing what many of us have known, that kayak fishing is AWESOME!
Whatever your dream is, plan to put in more than you ever hope to get out of it. No man is born an angler.