Tango & Fly Fishing Comparisons
1. You don't just step into a river or milonga. First study the scene and then carefully enter with humility, respect and reverence for the natural environment.
2. The “Kiss of Death”. If you or your fly is abandoned by your partner/trout in the middle of a tanda while on the dance floor/river, you may not get another dance for the rest of the night - best go to the bar/bank and wait awhile. Or, sitting at your table studying the beauty on the river or dance floor may be just the thing. One can learn a lot by observing, studying and appreciating. That trout & the ones near-by are now gone, scared of you. Handle (or embrace) the rejection in a positive manner. Study why, practice tying better flies, better casts & approach/tango basics, lessons, etc. Then, and only then, when you are prepared - make your cast or "mirada" for the "cabaceo" (acceptance) at another milonga (different pool or place upriver, etc). This can take 10 or 15 minutes or months, depending on you.
3. Handle your trout with a good embrace as to cherish and protect it. And when making contact, gently with the appropriate hold, embrace the trout as not to injure it. If forcefully handled, recovery for another dance with that trout may be finished. No more dancing with that lady.
4. Always fish barbless, you never know when that hook will bury itself into your finger, head, ear, etc. and don’t get too upset when it happens in class or milonga either. And yes, it hurts! There is more than one type of hook (metaphorically speaking) not really reflecting on the “gancho”, which should also gently slide out into the next movement – never barbed.
5. The fly rod & the follower: Your grip or hold on your "rod handle" may be compared to "The Embrace". The proper embrace is critical to the rod's performance. If you squeeze too tightly or with too much force, the action of the fly rod is inhibited. If you "push" to forcefully in your cast, the rod is overworked. The cast is inhibited. By relaxing and letting the rod respond to the proper direction that you have provided provides the ultimate experience in casting. Using the elements of tension, release and pauses at the right moments of the forward & backward movements along with providing proper intention and direction contribute to the magic of the rod's movement. Let it dance. Communicate with it. Tango! Note: the rod is only as good as the "leader" providing the proper embrace & direction.
6. There is always something to learn in both fly fishing and Argentine Tango. It is a continuing journey and adventure. There are so many aspects to each, it takes more than a lifetime to learn and experience everything. There are continuing challenges and moments of both extremes: frustration, being tired, let down, and wanting to quit, with the question, "Why am I doing this"? And, then there are the magical moments that we remember for a lifetime - which keep us going forward and reaching to the next level and experience.
7. Each milonga, river, tanda (dance set), etc. even with the same lady or trout will be different. Lots of environmental elements factor in to the dance. A magical bliss experience my be obtained and cherished on rare occasion and shouldn't be taken for granted if lucky enough to experience it in your landing net or embrace.
8. Don't ever hold anything against the trout. They just "do what they do", as they are wild and beautiful creatures to be appreciated. Try not to be offended if they "break-off" or the cabaceo is refused. If your request is verbal, then don't even wonder "why"?
9. Beginner fly fisherman want to catch a lot of fish, later on as they gather experience, they search for a few quality fish - quality vice quantity. Seems to be the same tendency at the milonga with (experienced, talented dancers - men & women), a quality dance desired over lots of dances with inexperienced or bad dancers.
10. A crowded milonga is like a crowded river, best to get there early, rest the middle, and dance the late hours for a quality experience.
11. Tango in a large circular salon/milonga can be like fishing on a lake, roles become reversed - where the "lead" becomes the trout, vice the fisherman, having to cruise the shoreline. The best points to concentrate are the inlets . . .
12. Familiarity can lead to boredom, arguing, and lack of interest at times, especially if you attend a small school or small milonga with the same people. Just as fly fishing on the same small river, same beat, or attending the same class with the same students or same milonga. The fish recognize the flies, get disinterested, turn their noses-up at your flies, etc. Don't be surprised to hear gossip about other people and about yourself along with their negative energy. Maybe it is time for a break, time for reflection. Or, maybe it is time for you to visit another river (new waters) or different milongas to change things-up and keep the challenge and excitement.
13. Find the beauty in the basics. A beautiful walk on a lake or river or milonga with the endless possibilities in each step with change of speed, length of step, mode of step texture, the response of your partner or the fish in the water.
14. The harder you squeeze something, the more it will try to escape, period!
15. Take time to relax and just breathe, watch to enjoy the beauty as part of your overall experience whether at the milonga or in nature.
Forward Notes: Original quotes from first-hand experience on the water (river or lake) and at the milonga or lessons.