November 9th, 1998
BEING THERE . . . again.
I mentioned I had 'learned too much' in my last
column. Let me try to explain some of that. My interest was in the
mayflies of Michigan. I found several very technical books and
pamphlets and studied them at great length. Necessary was the
acquisition of the scientific names to keep them sorted out. I
practiced for hours writing the names. I collected the nymphal
insects and raised them in elaborate aquaria and took thousands
of slides of nymphs and hatched bugs.
Till next week, remember ...
But I am getting ahead of myself here. That
was after reading several books on fly-fishing. It all started when I
decided to not be known as a worm-dunker. The local library had
a small collection and I checked out a couple. It was there I started
the 'circle' of reading. By that I mean, as I read more and more I
found myself coming right around to where I had started. It seemed
each author would take some small segment of fly-fishing and write
a whole book about it. Enough books and you are back to the
From that I delved into the world on the
insects; and went about as far in mayflies as possible. The result
was the inevitable 'slide-show' and lectures. The learning was
starting to 'circle' again. In however, the process, I was
accumulating a mass of information on fly-fishing and getting
rather proficient at it.
A fortunate event took me to Montana.
I lived there for seventeen years and used the opportunity to
start all over again. New water, different fish, unfamiliar bugs,
etc. More reading. Once again I started into another 'circle;'
and completed it. Each time the 'circle' was on a different
segment of fly-fishing such as: presentation, imitation, tying,
entomology, and such. Each 'circle' adding strength to the last.
I was not getting any smarter, but I sure did possess a lot of
I am once again involved in a 'circle.' This
one may not make it all the way around to join itself tho. It may
be just too big. You might have noticed the material I had been
reading was of the information type; trying to find something new.
In my earlier years I did not afford myself time for leisure reading.
Always there had to be some learning to justify the time spent.
Probably a mistake but that was the way it was. Not so anymore.
I have finished far too many Louis L'Amore books and have
increased my library of old, out of print, used, stories about fly-fishing.
Some are just old, some are collectors issues and very pricy to
say the least.
My point may be something like this. As much
as we try to give you good information on this web site, as hard as we work
to help you find your way into-around-thru the maze of good-bad-indifferent
stuff written on the subject, you can't equal or beat reading and owning
books. Owning books is as different from renting them as owning
a fine fly rod is from renting one. There is a commitment in owning. A 'pride
of ownership.' A duty to take care of them, to worry about what may happen
to them far into the future. And you know what? A lot of the tales of
adventure seem to be more about how much they enjoyed just being there, the
fishing was a bonus. That may be why so many of us enjoy the chat room here.
Kinda like being there too.
So here it is; you can't read too much.
You can't own too many books. You can't know too much. You only
have to pick a new 'circle,' and start in again. Treat yourself; go out
today and buy a book, it will make you feel good.~ Jc