Everyone who comes to fly fishing starts somewhere.
My first husband had a fly rod, and in the spring would
dig worms, thread one on a hook, and "fly fish" with it.
It was fishing with a fly rod, so he concluded he was
fly fishing. Eventually he moved on, learned to tie flies,
became a real fly fisher and indeed caught fish.
I don't know if he ever did spin fishing, it was too long ago.
But there are a lot of folks who start out with spin equipment,
and kids with 'snoopy' rods or other bait casting gear. Some
stick with it, perhaps decide they want to try fishing with
ultra-light spinning gear and are happy with what they are
Others are looking for more of a challenge, or something which
is less boring. Before you start muttering, lobbing a lure
out and cranking it back in, time after time can be boring.
I've done it and no thanks. Why? Because I want more
involvement. I want to fish with flies, target or hunt
the fish I wish to cast to, and if possible take them on
a dry fly.
That is my personal choice. You may have an entirely different
take on how to fly fish - or even why you fly fish. It
doesn't matter, not one iota. Fish dry, fish wet, fish
streamers, nymphs, scuds, egg or worm patterns, whatever
floats your boat. It's your choice. No one has a right
to tell you what you fish with - or fish for - is wrong,
(provided it's legal of course,) or somehow makes you
less of a fly fisher than some other person. That's baloney.
One of my objections to much of what is in fly fishing magazines
is the attitude that if you don't fish or trout or Atlantic
salmon you aren't a fly fisher. That's baloney too.
People have written entire books about the reasons they fly
fish. It certainly can be a different reason and experience
for everyone who fishes. It is a form of recreation (and
re-creation) a means of escape, an adventure, finding new
places and fish, a way to maintain ones sanity, a challenge
to match a match, to bring up an impossible fish, making a
perfect cast, getting an absolute drag-free drift, or find
the perfect holding water. The pot of gold at the end of a
rainbow. Just yours.
It is all very personal. And it should be. Each of us is unique.
Our values, background and frame of reference are all different.
The common thread is we all fly fish. That's it. Simple.
We don't have trout close to us, it's a three-hour one way
drive to trout, we do have some Pacific salmon, but the seasons
are not predictable, nor the distribution of fish. We do fish,
but not as often as we would like. But we continue to improve
our skills, we are still learning, and isn't that part of it
I started bait fishing for perch off the lighthouse break-wall
in Ludington, Michigan. I was in I think the 1st grade. Later
I spent summers with my grandparents in Rogers City, Michigan
and grandfather was an outdoors man and fly fisher. I went
fishing with him often, but I used a bait rod until I was
eleven. He taught me to fly cast with a telescopic steel rod
and a hard cover book under my arm. I was standing in the water,
and he admonished me, "We aren't going to get the book wet, are
we pumpkin?" (One of my childhood nicknames.) The rod was
awkward and very heavy. I didn't fish long, but I had a basic
understanding of what made a rod go.
In the years which have passed I've been fortunate to fish for
many game fish, some coarse fish as the Brits would call them.
I've caught tarpon (one large), jacks, Spanish mackerel, bonefish,
steelhead, chubs, bluegills, whitefish, carp, suckers, trouts of
all sorts and Pacific salmon. There are fish I haven't caught
which I would like an opportunity to try. There are places I'd
love to fish, just for the different beauty and the experience of
We all make choices in how we fish, what we fish for, and what
we fish with - be it rod, reel, line, leader or fly. Is what
is right for you different that what works for me? Could be.
But it really doesn't matter. Truly, it doesn't. It is your
fishing, not mine.
The best advice I can give you is to fish as much as you can
(there, you've got a permission slip to go fish), learn what
you need to make it work for you, and love the fish you have.
Appreciate them, protect them, treasure them as the living
entity which allows you to get out of the house and outside
And is it okay to fish with worm or egg imitations? Only
if you want to.
And that's no baloney. ~ The LadyFisher
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