Spey -o- Rama 2018

Hardly an hour before dusk, we found ourselves sliding into our waders next to the turquoise ponds of the Golden Gates Angling and Casting Club; silently wondering where this past year had gone. It was just one year ago when I had stepped into these iconic ponds for the first time, and I was just as nervous this time as I was last. We were fresh off the plane with just moments of daylight left before stepping in for the first time this year. The harshness of winter had kept both still and moving waters frozen well into the second week of April, mitigating any practice time I so desperately needed.

I entered the ponds this year with a different feeling than last. This year I was under practiced, my left side needed some major attention, and my mind was lost to the dwindling confidence I had in myself. I masked my attenuating fear of disappointment with spurious excitement and philosophies surrounding the power of positive thinking. As the week leading up to the qualifiers progressed, the ponds started to fill with competitors from across multiple countries and continents, bringing gifts of tactile gratuities and alcohol.