January 7th, 2002

New to Fly Fishing?
By James Castwell

You really should read this. Not so you will get a whole lot of great information about fly fishing, in fact at this time in your 'fly-fishing' a whole lot of information is about the last thing you really need. Nope, I am going to let you in on a secret. First of all, you are not alone, and all these guys who you think know so darn much about all this stuff were at one time right where you are right now. So there!

You have the rest of your life to learn about things. And trust me, even then you will not know all there is, or even all you think you should know. Funny business, this fly-fishing. It may look like a sport, a recreation or at the very least just another way of removing a fish from his liquid home. Not so.

I know several things which it is not, but for the life of me I can't seem to nail down just exactly that which it is. It seems to be different things to many people. No one gets the same out of it, kind of like we each carve it up to fit our needs and desires.

Trust me, you have enough problems right now. Like you thought when you blew fifty bucks on a fly rod and then found out you needed another hundred for a reel and line, yikes! You got in way in over your waders and still don't have the nifty fly-vest, let alone those waders.

So, here you are, not much to show for it, out more dough than you figured on and some jerk starts to give you a raft of stuff about the cheap fly rod you got stuck with. Well, there ain't no cheap fly rods, nor reels, fly lines, vests, waders or any of this gear! It all costs plenty. My point is, the rod and reel combo, or whatever you have, will do just fine for right now.

No, it will not cast like the guys in the magazines, but you can't cast that way yet either, no big deal. It will get your fly to a fish and that's the name of the game. Don't sweat the small stuff, get on with it, get out there. No time to practice casting? For right now it doesn't matter. Get some time soon the water and get some of it in your leaky waders, hang a few flies in trees, bust off a few tippets, unravel a couple of poorly tied knots, try not to break any rods 'tho, and have a great time. We all did it just that way and so can you.

If you must, go ahead and take a class or whatever turns your crank, but you can have a grand time with just what you know now. You may be lucky enough to have a buddy you can tag along with, that could help. How much you learn and how fast you learn it, what equipment you choose to buy and use, where and when you go and what you fish for, these and more are all under your control. There are not many things in this game you must do, some may try to convince you otherwise, but the choices are always yours. Win or lose is not important and it's not how you play the game; it's playing the game that counts.

I was having a discussion with my wife the other day about how this fly-fishing scene has gotten all screwed up. I, as usual, was complaining that what we read about fly-fishing today is so much different than in the past. Most of it now concentrates on 'how to' do some particular thing, usually that the writer knows how and you don't, and if you don't soon start to do it his way you are inferior or something like that. I'm probably as guilty as the rest of doing it. Even on here you can find specific details on how to tie flies, read the water, cast a fly-pole and just about anything you might think you need to know or learn about.

But, I usually try to bring a flavor of how things were written about in the past. Some of my columns have been a bit on the silly side I suppose, but a message was usually included. Many were only to inspire and give a chance for a few thoughts to occur or memories to be stirred. Often there were far more questions than answers, (there is a very good reason for that.)

The sad part is that the things which were presented years ago are still there. And you can easily find them, they are in books, old books. Instead of reading how to cast a hundred feet, or tie a Latin named bug, the old books contain situations and stories and fun stuff. Like a guy using a stiff leader with a one-winged dry fly and casting it so fast it twists the leader and when it lands it spins and the big brown takes it and he clamps the reel and line in his hand and slowly backs up, upstream and tows the brute out from under the old log. (Whirl Away McSneak, C. Fox)

There are no maps of the stream, no names of the motel he stayed in, no mention of the state he was in or any of the 'important' things. Just a story that was probably based somewhat in fact. Not what brand or rod, nor it's length, size, weight or pedigree.

If you decide to hang a bit of worm on a dry fly and let it slip downstream under a log and pull out a fat brown, so what. It is your choice. You will have to live with the memory tho, and if the truth be known, you will be in good company if you do. We all started at the same place. Right where you are. Right now. Go fly-fishing during the day, read an old book in the evening and enjoy life to it's fullest. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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