Ladyfisher

This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
March 10th, 2008

More Than Meets the Eye


Fly Fishing is a very unique sport. There may be some conflict over calling it a 'sport' as some feel it is a recreation, an avocation, a pass time or, in some cases, a curse.

Nevertheless, I can't think of any sport which offers so many opportunities for involvement/participation than fly fishing. Just think about it. You can "just fish." Or, you can become involved in a serious (or not) study of the insects. You may decide to grow your own. Maybe photograph the various stages as the insects mature.

Of course you can tie flies - and again, great possibilities. You can tie flies to match your local bugs, tie realistic flies, tie historical flies, flies from a particular well-known tier (such as Ray Bergman) experiment and tie your own special version of the insects as you see them - or go full boat and work on tying Atlantic Salmon flies as art or display flies. Oh yes, you can take the photography along on the fly tying too.

If you have the gift and interest, you could teach others how to fly fish - how to cast - how to tie flies. All part of 'paying it forward.'

There's more.

How about rod building? Either purchase the blank and build your own, or go another step deeper and build a bamboo rod. It's not rocket science, and if you have some woodworking skills you can indeed build a cane rod. If your knowledge includes some physics and math you can design your own rod. And turn the components for the reel seat - and get an education on exotic woods.

What did I leave out?

You probably aren't going to want to make your own fly lines, but we do have a friend who does exactly that, from horsehair, which he braids. The braiding part can be another facet - braided or furled leaders.

Creating a reel could be a challenge, but more than one reel currently on the market was designed and built by a person, just like you, who wanted this or that as features on a reel and decided to build his own.

That should give you some ideas to ponder while it's still not Spring and fishing is difficult because of ice on the streams and lakes.

There actually is more though; we've known people who have become involved in dying feathers and threads to match antique flies - and the wraps on very old rods. Some even grow their own birds for hackle. One fellow dresses up in period costume and does a program of how fishing was back in the 'old days.' In fact we tried to hire him to 'appear' on a famous eastern stream for a Fish-In several years ago. He was very interesting to talk to on the phone, but unfortunately was booked.

Collectors probably don't start out to collect - but over time they have a small treasure. Specific items within our sport which are of special interest to them. Creels, rods, reels, lines, flies, old gut leaders, fly fishing gear of all kinds, including the books. Just another piece of the sport.

It really isn't a sport. It is a journey and a life-style. You can take any or all of it and travel whatever path appeals to you. Fly fishing is something you can spend your life enjoying and sharing. Have fun. ~ The LadyFisher

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