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August 21st, 2000

TV Fishing Shows
By James Castwell


As editor of FAOL I sometimes watch fishing programs on TV rather than read the Wall Street Journal. With very few exceptions, as I do, I get upset, angry, bugged, and just plain 'you know what.' If you are somewhat new to fly-fishing you might be watching them too. My complaint is this. Between many of them you will rarely find agreement on how to do things.

There seems to be basically two formats; showing you how to do something and telling you how to do something. The first usually has two guys fishing and you must watch and listen to see and hear how they do things. Not a lot of mention about how to, just mostly fishing.

The other has the host explaining every little thing he is doing, why he is doing it that way and how you should do it. These are the most egregious. It is not so much that what they do is wrong, it is just not as right as it should be. Here I am referring to things like rubbing you fly rod on your nose before putting it together. Things like that.

When you see these guys strip in line with their hand instead of controlling the slack by putting it on the reel and then dancing around the floating line as they swipe at a fish with a net, just remember there may be a better way. Then again, they just may not know any better. I don't mean to say that there aren't times when some of these things are not proper, there are. I am referring to the times when they are not.

Don't take what you see as the 'Gospel,'it is not. It seems that anyone with access to a video camera is an 'instant expert.' It amazes me they can get so many companies to shuck out dollars to sponsor these things. They are not only poor, they are often wrong. I have seen guys break rods by pointing them up and back when landing fish causing a 180 degree bend. This breaks the rod and puts no force on the fish either. The lower you keep your rod, the more force is applied. If you raise the tip, you are using the tip; if you lower the rod, you are using the butt of the rod. Simple stuff.

I've got a few years under my belt and still find new things to learn. That is the great fascination of fly-fishing. You never get to know it all.

The fact remains that they are something to watch when the neighbors dog has christened your copy of the WSJ and you are desperate for entertainment. Just be forewarned, many 'experts' have been postulating doing things exactly as they do it. They cannot change to anything new and still claim their deity. They are stuck doing things the same way forever. You are not.

Don't be afraid to take what you want from any of them, and leave the rest. There is a big difference between 'experts' and professionals. It's your job to sort them out. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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