This is January and it's winter here, outside of Seattle,
Washington that means I don't have to mow the grass,
that's about all that really changes. Oh, the fishing
for salmon changes a bit, but it does that all year long,
always some coming in, some spawning and some dropping back.
We have steelhead here too, but that is a cult of a different
nature. Been there, done that, got the shirt.
One thing that happens here these days is the deluge of
catalogs and magazines picks up. I guess the folks who send
this stuff figure all I have to do is sit around all day and
drool over all the pretty pictures and melt down my credit
cards. Not that I mind going through the pages, it's kind
of like going to a super show, or a nifty fly shop. Who
could knock that?
But, this is what happens here, in fact my wife and I had a
nice conversation about it and even put down our copies of
our latest offerings from the USPS. I was explaining (make
that complaining) how I felt sorry for anyone who is just
getting into fly-fishing.
"Heck honey, we've been at this for years and should know
what we are doing, We go to shows and keep up as much as
anyone can. And you know what?"
"No, what?" She inquired as she reached for her cup of coffee.
"If someone asked me to pick them out a good rig, a nice rod,
reel, and line; you know, a nice set-up and try to keep it
under six hundred bucks total. I think I would go nuts."
One her way to the kitchen to re-fill her cup she muttered,
"What are you talking about?" (I am sometimes slow getting
to my points.)
"There are just too many rods, reel and lines for anyone to
figure out what is the right combination. Take for instance
only the Orvis and Cabela's catalogs. With all of the stuff
in there and how wonderful it is, even I can't make sense of
it, let alone some guy just starting out. No wonder so many
make poor choices and then have to get different gear once
they get their 'feet wet,' so to speak."
"Look," I said, "They talk about 'aircraft grade aluminum' what
the heck it that? A guy at the last show told me they just use
the term because it sounds good and sells reels. How about 'Nano?'
The last time I heard that name, my cousins little girl wanted
"You are right, as usual," she said. "Years ago it sure was a
lot easier to figure out what I needed for fly fishing, there
was less to pick from and that did make it easier."
"T-3," was my addition to our discussion. "You know what that
means to me? It's the type of connections we use to support
our web server."
Of course, it doesn't stop with rods and reels. Add in the
various fly tying vises (rotary or not-rotary), fly lines
(WF or DT), waders (breathable or neo's), vests (long or short),
rain jackets (water-proof or water-resistant), landing nets
( C&R or not C&R, what ever that would be), leaders and tippets
(fluorocarbon & monofilament) and you can see just what a mess
this has all become.
The wars are on, and the writers are up to the job. You can't
find a magazine these days with out a 'field-test' or 'product-review'
of anything and everything related to fly fishing. The experts
are speaking and we all listen. If only I could understand the
I think you follow me here. Even with a timid trip to your fine
feathered fly shop you will have a rough time making choices
and there is not a darn thing I can do to help you except let
you know you are not alone. It has me confused too. If you are
an 'engineer' type, look for the details; if you are a 'poet'
chose with your heart and hope for the best. And, if you happen
to get all of it figured out someday, send me a letter with
the information please. Do not forget to enclose at least one
nicely tied 'fan-wing' Royal Coachman (I'm low on those and
I hate messing with the wings) tied sparse. ~ James Castwell