August 13th, 2007

By James Castwell

I got to wondering a few days ago if fly fishing might be hereditary or not. My wife said at the dinner table where I brought it up, that I should go in right after dinner and write it up. I said I needed to gnaw on it a while yet. I wasn't sure of the question and darn well not the answer.

Wouldn't it be funny if it was hereditary? Like red hair or brown eyes? Where a guy could marry a girl who likes to fly fish and the chances that the kid would like it would be great. We could even breed a specie of selective trout fisherman. We could get even or at least catch up with the evolution of the fish. They get more and more selective, well, we could get better and better.

But alas, I fear I have gone over my hipper's again. In fact, I think perhaps even the opposite might be the case. I have seen many a gent try to successfully plant the fly fishing bug into an offspring only to be defeated at every bend. I wonder if there is some rapport with the outdoors which might be passed along though. If a person tries to instill a sense of stewardship in a child will he then at some time of his choosing, decide to become a fly fisherman?

Notice I said become, become a fly fisherman. It is a state of mind, not a recreation. Not all who profess to angle with the fly are thus a fly-fisher. My point is it takes more than fishing with flies to be, or become a fly fisherman. It is a matter of choice. Of making a decision at some exact time on ones cycle of events where the status quo is not enough. The catching of fish of one sort or another with worms, lures or bait no longer excites. It no longer satisfies. It leaves a vacuum. Something must be inserted to make oneself whole again. Perhaps the mere commission to ones self that he shall be one of those. He shall be a fly fisher. The statement alone might be enough.

I once made such a oath to myself. Or was it perhaps more of a promise. No, not that either, simply I remember saying that I wanted to be known as a fly fisher and the way to be known as one was to go do it. So, I did and I'm still doing it. And now I am known as a fly fisher. Success right?

Hardly. Over the years I found that there is a bit more to being a fly fisherman than simply fly fishing. Although, just doing it is always enough at the time, each element is its own reward. Each and every little event, success or failure, goes to make up the whole. The whole being a fly fisherman. For many of us, these small elements, increments, facets are the warp that keeps us afloat during the week so we may live on the weekend, or the vacation, or the trip or, just whenever we can get a fly rod in our hands and find a piece of water. Reading catalogs, buying gear, tying flies swapping fish stories with close friends or watching a lone caster on a mist clad morning stream.

Can we make anyone into a fly fisher? I don't think so. It's something inside of us. We can even be a fly fisher and not have been on the water for a long spell. Some things take up our time. A 'honey do' list when we retire can be an example. Diminishing health or economics can play a role as well.

So, can you or I do anything that might help someone else get into fly fishing? Sure we can. Something like preparing the soil before you plant the garden. Location is important. Sometimes turning the soil over may be required, maybe even some weeding might be in order. When the season is right and the conditions correct then you plant the seed and try to nourish it occasionally. You might have the opportunity to fertilize it, or in some way help direct the course of growth. If you are lucky, you will and if so, remember to be grateful for the chance. We don't all get it.

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink," it has been said and likely true. After living in the west for several years I also found out that, "you can lead a horse to drink but you can't make him water," is also true.

So, we can lead a guy to fishing but we can't make him a fly-fisher. Nope, that's a personal choice, but I think we can be involved. If we want to. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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