There isn't a day that goes by when I don't
marvel at the complexity of fly fishing or
the amazing variety of people who take it up
as not just a hobby - but as though it were a
By that I don't mean in any way that fly fishing
is above any other method, to each his own - but
it does seem the people who are attracted, then
enamored, then consumed with the fly fishing
adventure are of a different or special mind set.
Reading our email or the various topics on the
Bulletin Board brings this to mind each day.
Opinions vary of course, with age, time of the
water, and exposure to a variety of fishing
experiences. Some never fish outside their
home waters, so they have no frame of reference
about other fisheries or methods (which doesn't
mean they can't or don't have an opinion of
course.) - and some people who will tell you
they have been fishing for 10 years (put whatever
number of years in which fits) really don't have
10 years experience. What they do have is one
years experience for 10 years. These tend to
be the folks who don't understand hatches or the
importance of knowing their local insects, think
anyone who is distance casting is either a show-off
or nuts, and their favorite rod is the same one they
started out with.
Nothing wrong with whatever rod one starts out
with (I still have one of my first rods though I
haven't had it out of it's case for many years) - but
usually as your experience and ability with the long
rod improves you also recognize the need (or want)
for better equipment. Sometimes that is also affected
by fishing new and different waters where a larger
or smaller rod would be advantageous.
Here at Fly Anglers OnLine (FAOL) one of our goals
is to provide the best information we can - which
gives our readers the ability to broaden their
fishing experiences. The trout anglers who has
never fished for any of the terrific panfish available
in most parts of this country has no right to look
down on the folks who fish for panfish - and perhaps
ought to realize that over half of the United States
does not have any trout fishing within a reasonable
Those nose-in-the-air "purists" should be forced
to spend some years where trout fishing is an
interesting concept, just not a regional reality.
Conversely, those panfishers who believe trout
fishing - or dry fly fishing is 'easy' are in
for a big surprise. Those comments usually come
from people who have never fished for nor caught
a trout in their lives. Or at best have fished
stocked waters right behind the stocking truck.
I've read comments about bass, bluegills, carp
saying they don't eat insects.
Let's take a serious look at what any stream, pond,
lake or river has for food for fish. What do fish
eat? A big brown trout eats smaller trout or any
fish it finds. They also eat insects, crawfish,
frogs and snails. Smaller trout do too. How about
bass? Bass eat smaller fish, insects, (including
nymphs) frogs, crawfish and snails. Bluegills?
Ditto. Carp? Ditto. Duh.
Water only contains a certain amount of food. Fish
are opportunists - they eat what is eatable. They
are also conservationists of energy. They can't
expend more energy than the food they eat gives them.
They must eat or they die.
What about all those bright colored 'attractor-type'
flies for bass? Or trout? What do they represent?
Probably not food. They most certainly will however
catch fish at one time or another. There are thousands
of flies, all of which work for some fish, somewhere,
Do fish strike to protect a territory? Of course.
But not all the time. Will they chase something
just because the something is 'running away?' Sure.
That's what the fast retrieve is all about.
Something else to put in your data base.
With the huge variety of flies available, (because
of my personal bias I'm leaving dry flies out of this)
and the different methods of retrieving the wet fly,
think about what the fish actually sees. The fish
is not looking at the fly as if it were holding still
and the fish could inspect it closely. The fly is
moving. The fish is probably moving. What the fish
sees is an impression of something which might
be food. If the shape, size and coloration sparks
something in the fishes primal recognition system
the fish 'takes' the fly.
I must admit I only really understood this concept
after reading A Perfect Fish, Illusion
in Fly Tying, by Ken Abrames about 5 years ago. (The
review is in our Book Review section - and should be
in your library if you tie or not). The point is,
as old as I am, I am still learning. I don't know
everything, nor will I ever live long enough to know
everything about fly fishing. In fact, just when I
think I've got one little aspect of it down, someone
throws a curve ball. Different water, different
fish - different insects or bait. You could add
to that different climate or conditions. Just for
fun add a dandy wind. (Hmmm, how good did you say
your casting is?)
I have great respect for all kinds of fly fishing.
I've fished with a bait casting rig, spinning gear,
heavy boat rods for big blue water fish, and still,
the absolute favorite for me is fly fishing. I'm
very fond of dry flies on moving water - but that
isn't always available here. The fact is it's several
hours drive one-way to exercise that preference. That
doesn't mean I won't fish for whatever is available
here. Nor do I think those who don't share my
preferences aren't really fly fishermen either.
Fly fishing is a huge entity. There is room for
anyone who wants to take it up - in any way they
find enjoyment. We can all have our 'favorites'
and claim them for ourselves. . .and leave room
for those who fish for different fish in different
ways, tie flies in a different manner or build rods
for special situations. We probably won't be able
to experience even a portion of all the variations
available in several lifetimes.
Isn't it great? ~ The LadyFisher
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post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!