Part One hundred eighty-seven
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Fly Fishing IS For Everyone
By Johnny (aka Hillfisher), Texas
Archive of Panfish
After reading Al's article
about beginners prices and fly shop personnel, it really got me
to thinking about the same thing I went through with all the
people I have taught this last year. I get a lot of questions
at work from people about my fly fishing. When I go into the
lengthy descriptions of the river scenery, the quite solitude
and of course the fish, they become quite interested. When
they see the equipment and the flies and I explain to them
that it is an art and one not difficult to learn, quite a
few wish to learn. However no true commitments are made.
After some time passes I would ask them if they were still
interested. Each time the response has been the similar.
"I can not afford this kind of fishing!" or "I can not
justify the expenditures compared to my present form of
fishing." This is from all walks of life, whether it be
struggling collage students up to corporate directors.
This is where I find out they went out on their own to
one of the local fly shops and looked at what they had
to offer. Most would walk out with that "deer in the
headlights" look, in financial shock.
For those who are on the "No Budget," fly shop prices are
unobtainable. The "No budget" you ask? It's mostly for
us married guys. It goes something like this.
"Honey, can I have…"
"but . . ."
That's the "No Budget." Very effective for the budget, lousy
for the fishing.
However there are alternatives that are very affordable for the
average angler. Whenever I encounter individuals who want to
learn fly fishing but have found the prices too much to justify
or afford, I take them online and introduce them to the FAOL
Sponsor page. For most people this gets things back into
perspective and we get more people into the fly fishing sport.
As Al pointed out there are two different philosophies to consider
when dealing with beginning fly fishermen. Some people will only
buy the most pricey stuff as they believe the cost determines
the quality. I have a friend who whole heartedly believes this.
The local fly shops love him. Others are cost conscience and
will by necessity, sacrifice some quality, "to get a foot in
the door," just to try the sport. But then again are they
really sacrificing quality? A given rod manufacture will
produces the same rods for various "distributors," only
changing the name printed on the blank. The distributors
determine the price for resale. I wonder just how much
more business a single fly shop would produce if they truly
had a beginners section with low cost quality combos to offer.
Most people never just walk into a fly shop out of curiosity.
In fact most don't even know we have three here in the Austin
(Texas) area. Most don't even know that fly fishing is even
a viable and exciting sport here in the south. I feel that
those of us who are in the sport owe it to introduce new fly
fishers in a way they can afford. I also believe in practicing
in what we preach. All my equipment with the exception of the
vest and waders are low to mid-range rods and reels. I started
with a low end combo and I still use it for demonstrations and
pan fishing around the house. Their performance and durability
has proven their worth over the years. Each of the people whom
I have taught this past year have started with around $100.00
combos and are performing and catching as well as the person
who starts with the $1000.00 setup. Eventually they'll probably
move up to more expensive and better performing equipment, most
do, but we all have the memories of the first rod and reel which
lead us down the path to the wonderful world of fly fishing.
I believe we are emissaries not for just a sport, but a way of
life to preserve and pass on to the next generation . . .in
an affordable way. ~ Johnny, AKA Hillfisher
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