February 2nd, 2004

Fish Hogs
By James Castwell

Well, of course you're not one, none of us are fish-hogs. With that out of the way, let's dig a little deeper into what/who may, in reality, be one. I will admit that I was one, I think I was born that way, perhaps we all were. I do not think I am one now though. But, if I followed what I read and see these days I feel that I should have to regress to that sophis/juvie stage of puberty to be excepted in today's circles of the fishery.

There is a normal maturing progression in life, like potty training and such which includes among other things, ones attitude toward fish and fishing. The attitudes regarding recreation and sport, and differences and or similarities if any. We all know the drill; first fish, more fish, bigger fish, more big fish, biggest fish, most fish, most biggest fish, giant big fish and lots of them ad nauseam, la dee la dee da.

The impetus these days seems to require that if I should desire to feel adequate I need to be a world traveler and catch and release strange, if not exotic fishes and do it by the bushel at least. I am surprised that today's fly rods do not yet have a little hook hanging from the handle which will weigh my fish, inches for length measurement emblazoned on the butt section and a miniature counter/clicker imbedded in the handle where I can easily facilitate the recording of hits, runs, errors, landed, released, "think I had a hit" and "Boy, did I get hammered!"

Fortunate are those who have had occasion to simply sit stream-side on a warm summer evening and watch as a spinner-fall of mayflies gently drifted by and the trout busied themselves with their daily dinner. To sit calmly and feel that it would be a wrong thing to disturb any part of the sequence. The stories in books and magazines in past years often told more of the aesthetics of the camp, the camp-fire, the venture, the hardships and triumphs of the trip. Today it is more about how many thousand miles we flew and how many hours we sat cramped up in a jumbo-jet; and how many fish we released. Our sport has become a recreation of quantity; not a pursuit of quality.

I find it interesting that the magazines and T.V. seem to push this quantity idea while the Internet seems more content to try to tell the truth. Perhaps we are tired of the hoopla about how many fish so-and-so caught or released. Maybe we just want to be ourselves and be accepted for that. It is not always the fellow who comes in from the stream with the most fish, caught or released, who is the better for it. We all look for slightly differing things from the sport of fly-fishing, and when we find them, we have succeeded. It is in that searching and finding which spurs us ever on to find even more to quench our insatiable appetite. It is these ideals which will further ensure the continued existence of our passion. Not numbers released.

We are often asked why we try to help so many learn how to fly fish if there are not enough fish now. The idea is that after you have caught your 'limit,' then what? We hope you can learn to turn a few back and in so doing gain appreciation of the whole of flyfishing. It's not just about catching fish. After that it's between you and the 'Fish-Hogs.' ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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