A great number of years back I was very intense about
fly fishing. I was on a constant quest for more and
more real information. The Internet had not been invented
so it was pretty much left to books. I started out by
ringing them home from the library but soon learned that
I needed to retain the information so the quest turned to
not only finding books but purchasing them. Trust me, even
back then it could get expensive, and did, for this poor
Things progressed for a few years and in that time I met
and developed a friendship with another kindred spirit
and we both traveled the same path to hopefully, at least
knowledge, if not in fact wisdom on fly fishing. Also,
those few years provided me the opportunities to actually
meet some of the luminaries of our sport. Trout Unlimited
was a local club at the time so I joined up with those
guys. Somehow that also broadened my field of acquaintances.
I met and chatted with many of the names who are now gone.
Writers and fly fishers who have past on, but many having
left their mark on the literary field. I didn't have the
good fortune to fish with many of them but I was honored
to have had some real nice conversations with quite a few.
To say I knew many might be a stretch, but I like to think
of it that way. I wish I had known them better is also true.
There was a flood of books it seemed right at that time. As
I was digging deeper into in fly fishing it seemed that
everyone had a book out. The ones who didn't at least had a
'slide-show' they traveled the 'rubber-chicken' circuit with.
That soon became the framework for the latest and greatest
bit of wisdom on the sport. At this point I was considering
that if I bought a book and it had just one paragraph of
something new and actual, I had made a good investment.
The problem became, it became increasingly hard to do.
Some not only had nothing new, at least for me, what
they had was wrong. That really got to me. Not so much
that I was jealous, but that they were leading new folks
with ideas that were just flat wrong. They had the money
and the connections to get a book printed. That they had
not much knowledge on fly fishing did not seem to matter.
The situation that was even worse though was that some
things that were written, that were actually very correct,
were not thought of that way but, ridiculed or discounted
by many. At that time I was in line to do a book. I was
put in touch with a company, Crown actually, and talked
on the phone with the editor about the details. I decided
not to write the book. My reason was perhaps silly, stupid,
vain, dumb; I actually don't know. I told myself that I
didn't want to publish at the same time as all those other
And now here I am. All of this web stuff I am writing will
be less than a whiff of smoke when someone pulls the plug
from the Internet and all the electricity drains out. Probably
a good thing as much of what I write is of little value anyhow.
What is of value to a person in this sport is what he can find
for himself. What he can teach to himself. The big things and
the little, they all jell together to provide us the recreation
we enjoy. To read it is fine but until you actually do it you
do not know it for sure.
A little like the old question once asked, "It may look good
on paper, but will it fly?" Sure, it's winter now for most of
us and we try to pass the time doing everything but actually
fishing, but when the time comes. Go out there and see if it
will fly for yourself. ~ James Castwell