Flow (Sexyloops FP - 17th December 2012)

You are here: Home > Articles > Flow

Cast after cast goes where you want. Exactly. Effortlessly. You are aware of the insects, the birds, the fish. What’s there and why. You are in tune and in rhythm.

every rock, every branch.Suddenly you find you know the river, I mean really know it. Every current and seam, every rock, every branch. All the foam flecks, splashes, and watermarks. All are clear to you. You can feel them all as if they were running through your veins. Flowing.

Flow is a term coined by a Hungarian psychology professor called Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In an interview he described flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost."

Ring any bells? Afterwards and looking back on those moments, you feel exhilarated, fulfilled, joyful. But in the moment? It’s hard to say what you feel. I think there’s a feeling of calm control, of inevitability. It’s probably not true but you feel you can almost predict the immediate future. More likely you’re just so tuned in that you just pick up on subtle cues that usually pass unnoticed.

It happens in casting practice too. All of a sudden you feel that you are consistently operating at the limits of your ability. You’re not thinking anything specific, but you are aware of all of your movements, of every inch of the rod and line. Connected. And the line goes where you want.

For me these moments are very rare. Once or twice a year at most. Each one lasts a few minutes. For those of you at the top of your game I’m betting this happens a little more often, and for longer.

It seems to me that Flow should not be seen as a means to an end, a bigger fish, a longer cast. It’s only by stretching our skills to their limits, finding challenges to meet, that we can experience this state of mind. Those bigger fish and longer casts are the means.

Strangely for a word that implies movement and change, Flow may just be an end in itself.

© William Shaw