Myths and Outright Lies
'There's a sucker born every minute' is an oft heard
quote, and anglers must be right at the top of the list.
If you don't believe that just take a look at the latest
fly fishing catalogues that have certainly arrived in
your mail box in the last few weeks. If you are like
most anglers you have spent the winter reading fly
fishing magazines, fly fishing books, and drooling
over the latest gadgets, flies and assorted fly fishing
paraphernalia. Despite all the promises that a new _______
[insert the correct word here-rod, reel, flies, etc.]
will make you a more successful angler this coming year
my advice is to avoid the hype and stick with what has
worked for you in the past. If you have a copy of the
previous years fly fishing catalogues go back and look
at all the items that were hyped in those catalogues as
being a sure avenue to angling success. Now look in this
years issue and make note of how many of last years must
have items are no longer listed or have been replaced by
a 'new and improved' model.
By Neil M. Travis, Montana
Let me say, without fear of rebuttal, a new rod will
not make you a better caster if you have never learned
how to cast correctly. It may have the latest stealth
technology; it may weight less, have a thinner casting
profile, and flex faster than a speeding bullet and be
smoother than a baby's bottom, but it will not improve
your fly casting unless you have taken the time to learn
how to cast it correctly. Save your money and taking some
A new fly rod will not help you catch more fish, even if
you are an accomplished caster. I have had the privilege
of fishing with many very competent anglers over the years,
and unless their rod was broken it never seemed to occupy
any of their mental energy when they were fishing. What did
concern them was what the fish were doing, and how to properly
present their fly to them in the most natural way possible.
If you are an accomplished caster with your current equipment
but you are still having trouble making connection with the
fish a new rod is not the solution.
Next to fly rods the second most hyped item in fly fishing
catalogues and the latest angling books are flies. Each year
someone has suddenly discovered a new and previously untried
method of putting material on a hook that is certainly the
final word in innovative fly tying. This fly is so special,
so wonderful, and so irresistible to the fish that you have
to hide behind the streamside bushes to tie it on your leader.
Most of these flies are one year wonders; after one year you
wonder where they went!
Like fly rods, more flies in your fly boxes will not make
you a better angler, but will only make the problem of
selecting the correct one during the height of a major
hatch that much more difficult. If the flies in your
boxes have produced fish before I would suggest that
you do not need to improve on success.
If I were a betting man I think I could safely wager that
most anglers catch 90% of their fish with a handful of flies,
and that most of the flies they carry around never even get
wet. Further I would be willing to wager that the flies they
use consistently are the same flies they have used for years.
Oh they may have tweaked them a bit from the original design,
but basically they are still the same old fly they have been
using for years. If you must buy the latest fish killer make
certain your boxes are well stocked with those old favorites
that have proven their worth over the years. I bet at the end
of they day you catch more fish with them than all the new
fangled patterns that have been hatched in the brains of hungry
commercial fly tiers who need an edge to sell more flies.
Are fluorocarbon leaders better than nylon? Are fluorocarbon
leaders less visible to fish? Will you catch more fish if you
use fluorocarbon leaders? The answer may be subjective but
the likely answer is no. Modern leader material, whether nylon
or fluorocarbon will perform equally well, fly selection and
presentation are usually the factors that determine success
Since fly-fishing has become so popular most trout waters are
increasingly crowded. Given that there are only so many miles
of trout streams, and we have yet to discover a method for
creating more this has become a fertile field for myth and
out right lies. Here are some of my favorites.
If you want to avoid the crowds on your favorite trout water
try fishing off season. Exactly when is that? In my experience
the only time a trout stream is not crowded is when it is either;
 closed for the season,  dried up, or  frozen solid.
If the major trout waters are crowded try fishing smaller
out of the way streams. How many of those have you encountered
lately? If you find an out of the way stream that is devoid of
anglers there is likely a good reason for the lack of crowds.
It is either private or more likely barren of anything
resembling a trout. If it is open to the public and it has
trout it will have anglers.
Remember, fly-fishing is not just a recreational sport, it's
an industry. Many people, advertisers, state tourist bureaus,
tackle manufacturers, guides/outfitters, hotels/motels/bed
and breakfasts, and a host of others have a vested interest
in selling you something. They need you to buy that new gadget,
come to their resort, lodge, or state, and mostly they need you
to spend your money. That's great; however just remember that
there are lots of myths and even out-right lies being used to
separate you from your money.
Oh, by the way, if you don't believe that fellow brothers of
the angle would attempt to con you, I just happen to have several
acres with a trout-filled spring creek flowing though it that
I would be glad to sell you for just a couple hundred dollars
an acre. For a prospectus contact me and I will tell you where
to wire your money! Remember, I wouldn't con you.
~ Neil M. Travis, Montana/Arizona
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