You know, Deanna, this week's column just reminded me of something I've been annoyed by for quite some time now.

As I travel around the country fishing, always doing my homework before each trip to a new destination; I find a certain phenom to be occuring over and over again...almost everywhere.

The last step of good "homework" is supposed to be stopping in to the local fly shop and asking all the right questions of the right people in the shop: the guides hanging around out back waiting for their clients, the shop owners, and (best of all) the elder statesman of local fly fishing lore who works there part-time behind the counter. So I have always done this.

But over the past 2-3 years, I have also almost always gotten horrible advice! From CFS/water level info to current hatches to most productive patterns over the past few days, once I start fishing I realize quickly (but not quickly enough) I wasted my time using their advice. I should have stuck with what I learned from reading...books, magazines, and on-line from reputable sources. I also find that most fly shop and guide websites are very unreliable sources of recent destination fishery info. "Come on up, the fishing's fine," now seems to be their ONLY matter what the fishing is currently like. The worst example I've seen of this over the past year is MEXICO. I read an article in the LA times written by a fly fishing outfitter down on the west coast of MX who has lost 2 family members and a couple of biz partners to org crime violence in the past 2 years...who operates his biz and lives in a town that has 1 relatively safe road in/out of town during daylight hours ONLY...who wrote that anglers had nothing to worry about and shouldn't hesitate to "come on down, the fishing's great!" About a month later, an email went out to many fly fishermen from the wife of a man who went down there with 3 buddies to fly fish for a week. They had been several times before. Her husband was fishing on the beach with his buds. They got out of line-of-sight from each other for only a few minutes, and her husband has not been seen since. He was headed to the car. The car was still was his rod/reel.

Not doing your homework can not only cost you a few fish or result in a bad meal. It could get you killed! Don't forget that.