from Deanna Travis
Publisher & Owner
IN THE BEGINNING
So you want to fly fish? Or learn how? It could be a mistake. Unless it is something you are doing for yourself. Not because it might make someone else in your life happy. It's about making you happy. Being successful at fly fishing takes more than going out and buying a fly rod, reel, line and associated stuff.
Just getting the right stuff won't do it. Spending big bucks won't do it. You can purchase entry-level gear to get started for less than $200. Or you can spend a thousand, or more.
What should you expect from fly fishing? That all depends; mostly on what you really want. Being part of a historically connected society, [or religion if you've read or seen A River Runs Through It] takes time. Among other things, if it really is a religion, and I'll leave that call up to greater dogmatic experts, being a member means more than simply showing up.
Now we're into the meat of it. Fly fishing can be whatever you want or need it to be. For most anglers fly fishing is not about numbers, or not who caught how many fish. It's the total experience of being where fish live.
It's reading the water, knowing the fish and their habits. It's learning about the fishes food, where and when they appear and in which form. It's learning about fly fishing equipment and which lines to use and for what purpose. The differences in rods, and why those differences exist, translate into finding the optimum rod for your use in a particular situation.
And where do you want to fish? It this an annual vacation trek, or do you have "home water," a nearby fishery you can get too often? How much time can you devote to your new avocation? Note, I did not say hobby or sport since those who get good at fly fishing find that it is an integral part of their life.
Casting is very important, and it's easy to do, but not necessarily easy to learn. If you want to fly fish bite the bullet and learn to do it right. A good school will also bring you up to speed on the necessary equipment. You should be equipped to catch your first fish when you come out of a proper class. On top of instruction you need to practice your casting.
Ah, but you won't know what fish to catch or how to play a fish once you have it hooked. If you hook and land a trout could you hook and land a salmon, a bonefish or a tarpon? It's all a learning experience. Just when you think you have one aspect all figured out you go where the fish are entirely different. Then there are the rods, lines, and different fishing conditions like casting into the wind! There are always new challenges, and it can become a way of life. Are you prepared for the commitment?
Success is measured in your personal pleasure. How much you are willing to put into fly fishing is in directly proportion to what comes back to you. It can be in the form of personal satisfaction as in, "Hey, I got that right!" Or it can be as simple as taking a deep breath and being aware that nothing has intruded on your thoughts except this fishing experience. It becomes the intricate embroidery on the fabric of your life. It is incredibly personal.
Natural beauty surrounds nearly all of the fresh or saltwater fisheries, and that's not a small item either. The connection via a fly line with the water, or if you really get it right, a connection with a fish, is primal food for the soul.
If you want to have a private place, that place where the soul lives, where you can retreat and unplug from all the other stresses that intrude on your life, fly fishing can provide that place.
|Originally printed as a newspaper article on January 30, 1997 in the Kitsap Sun Sport Section, published in Bremerton, WA|