Almosting It: In fly fishing, close enough is … courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.This week, our regular guest columnist Terry Gallagher is taking the helm …

I REALLY LIKE THE IDEA of fly fishing. I say I like the idea because I’m totally useless at actually doing it.

We’ve been talking this week about “almosting it” as a way to tackle New Year’s resolutions by being satisfied at getting better at something without worrying about being perfect at it. But in fly fishing, “almosting it” is not good enough.

I have a good pair of waders and the right boots. Friends have given me a halfway decent rod and reel. Genuine experts have given me flies they tied that morning to match the insects in that section of river.

One evening last fall, I was knee-deep in a river known to generations of fishermen and women as the Holy Water. I could see fish swimming all around me, biting at my ankles, but I didn’t catch a thing.

Why? Because I’m not good enough at casting. Instead I flail away, whipping the line into an overhand knot behind my head and sending a hopeless little coil to land ten feet in front of me.

The fish are not fooled.

Anyone with even a modest interest in sports knows the quote from Robert Traver: “I fish because … I love the environs where trout are found.” And he’s certainly right about that: there’s a lot to like about standing knee deep in holy water.

But if I’m ever going to hook a fish I’m going to have to get better at it, and it’s going to take some work. “Almosting it” won’t do.

TERRY GALLAGHER has worked for more than 30 years using media to build stronger institutions and communities. As regular guest columnist for Our Values, he has written about a wide range of topics including New Year’s resolutions and teaching old dogs new tricks.

Are there limits to ‘Almosting It’?

How are you doing with Resolutions for 2013?

Please, leave a Comment below.

Originally published at, an experiment in civil dialogue about American values.

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