A Little Bit of Knowledge?
It has been said that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous
thing, and the following account should seal the truth of that
By Neil M. Travis, Montana/Arizona
Like most specialized sports fly-fishing has its own jargon that
may only be appreciated by those individuals who have bothered
to attempt to understand the sport in which they are actually trying
to participate. Unfortunately, it has been my experience in recent
years that more and more individuals are attracted to the sport
without any previous angling experience. The results are mostly
very, very funny. The following true story amply illustrates this
The location of this event is irrelevant to the story, but suffice
it to say that it took place on public water in the heart of trout
country, and on a stream that is regularly fished by some of
the best fly-fishers in the world.
It was an early July morning, and my friend, a long time guide
and outfitter, and his client had just arrived on the stream for
a day of fishing. Walking down to the river they selected a
suitable place to begin fishing, and as they were watching the
water for insect activity another group of anglers approached,
and inquired if they were going to fish the water immediately
upstream. My friend told them that they were not intending
to fish that water, and the trio then preceded to head in that
direction. It should be noted that the trio were all properly
attired with waders, fly rods, and vests and my friend did
not give them any further thought.
Later that morning my friend and his client were sitting on
the bank resting the pool. His client had caught several nice
trout during a brief hatch of mayflies, and they were waiting
to see if the pool would produce any further action. It was at
that time that their attention was directed to one of the anglers
they had encountered earlier. He walked down the bank
behind them and waded into the water about 30 yards
downstream. As he stood in the water he took something
out of his vest and attached it to his leader. The object
appeared to be some form of a strike indicator, but it
looked strangely like a small red and white plastic bobber.
With much effort the angler proceeded to fling his offering
out into the stream, and after a brief float he attempted to
pick it up for another cast. With a loud 'pop' the object
rocketed off the water and hit the angler right in the face!
After rubbing his face for a moment the angler proceeded
to try again, but despite his attempt to dodge this unguided
missile it struck him again.
The humor of this scene was too much for my friend and
his client, and they were laughing so hard that tears were
running down their faces. After watching this poor fellow
repeat this performance several times my friend walked
down the bank to where the angler now sat rubbing his face.
"I couldn't help but notice," said my friend, "that you appear
to be having a bit of difficulty with your casting."
"Well, I've never done this before, and I can't seem to
get the hang of casting this thing," he said.
"Why do you have that plastic bobber on your leader?"
my friend inquired.
"I was told that it was easier to see when the trout took
your fly if you used one of these. My friends called it a
strike indicator and they said it was just like a bobber!
Could you show me how to cast this thing so that it
doesn't keep hitting me in the head?" ~ Neil M. Travis, Montana/Arizona
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