Neil Travis - Jan 13, 2014

WOW, it's already 2014. The earth has made another complete circle around the sun and those of us on this tiny astronomical dust speck are preparing to start another year. Many people use this event to resolve to make some changes in the way they live their lives. Unfortunately most of those resolutions are soon forgotten; however I hope that some of my readers will consider some of the following resolutions. I think they may change and enhance your enjoyment of fly fishing.

Be it resolved that:

  1. Fly fishing is a recreational pursuit. Recreation is defined as a refreshment of the mind and body after work, especially by engaging in enjoyable activities. I see too many anglers that act like fly fishing is some type of competition, and too many anglers that approach fly fishing like their ability to cast a full fly line or catch more or bigger fish than other anglers will push them up the angling ladder. My question is, "Where is the ladder going?" Let us resolve to remember that fly fishing is a form of self-gratification and the rewards are mostly personal. Any competition should properly be between the angler and the fish.
  2. You can catch fish using artificial flies, but fly fishing is more than just fish catching. If catching a boat load of fish is important to your enjoyment of fishing then you should consider some other method of fulfilling your desires. On any given day bait or lures will likely produce more fish with less effort than fly fishing. Nets, dynamite, and poison are all more effective than fly fishing at catching large numbers of fish, but certainly not as much fun.
  3. Fly fishing is a learned activity and to become proficient requires time and practice. If you only spend a few days each year fly fishing you should not expect to be able to step into the water and begin laying out flawless casts. If your angling experience consists of watching some fly fishing videos and reading some books or fly fishing blogs it is unreasonable to believe that you can vicariously transfer that information into practical application without actually do it. The most proficient anglers that I know have spent hours perfecting their skills, and it's in the act of doing that both proficiency and enjoyment are to be found.
  4. Quality equipment does not need to be expensive. The fact that your fly rod is the latest and greatest does not mean that you are a more proficient angler than when you fished with your old fly rod. Likewise, the price of your fly fishing equipment does not translate into enhanced angling performance.
  5. A fly fisherman is more than his equipment. It's important to understand that there is the sport of fly fishing and the business of fly fishing, and each one has different objectives. The sport of fly fishing is a recreational pursuit with the chief end of having fun. The business of fly fishing is to maximize the bottom line; i.e. make as much money as possible. Equipment, like any tool, is important but it's the person that uses the tool that produces the quality results.
  6. Egos are best left at home. When we are fishing, whether with flies, bait or lures, the fact that a creature with the brain smaller than a pea impales itself on our offering is little proof of our superiority. If one is to build their self-esteem on their fish catching prowess their view of their own self-worth must be extremely small.
  7. You don't need to justify what you are doing to others. Some people like to fish with dry flies, some like to fish with nymphs, some like bamboo fly rods and some like graphite or fiberglass. Some people like to own the latest and greatest new equipment; other people are satisfied with old equipment. Some enjoy Latin names and others could not care less. Whatever "floats your boat", as the Ladyfisher would say, do it, enjoy it and don't attempt to justify or defend it.
  8. Have fun. Whatever you resolve to do this year when you are out fishing resolve to enjoy it. You don't know how many more days you have or if the moment that you are presently enjoying will ever come your way again. Cherish your friends, relish every moment and celebrate the life that God has given you. You don't know it you will ever pass this way again.

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