Welcome to Panfish!

Part Two hundred-seven

Not Just a Hobby

Hillfisher

By Johnny (aka Hillfisher), Texas


Some say fly fishermen have a different attitude towards fishing. I have heard we have a greater awareness of the environment as well as a more developed sense of responsibility and ethics. Even authorities such as game wardens recognize this. I, and those who were a part of the Texas Fish-in this last April have seen this as well. A game warden was checking for Trout stamps and never stopped to check any of the fly fishers. When questioned he simply stated, "I never have to worry about fly fishermen, I have yet to ever find one without a license, needed stamps or illegally kept fish." We have a tradition, a way of life we can all be proud of. We have learned to be a part of nature and not to take from it without giving something back.

For most of the people I have had the honor of sharing water with, the attitude has always been relaxed and easy going, whether we caught a few fish or a lot of fish, small fish or large fish. We simply enjoy the day with whatever it brings us. I remember a story where a new fly fisherman was doing his best to catch some trout and ended up catching two small fish for the day. During this time he was watching a couple of other fly fishers across the small impoundment. On the way out he overheard the conversation, as one of the fly fishers was upset and actually angry about only catching one lousy fish all day. The newbie, trying to be friendly, said how he was sorry that the other fly fisher had caught only one fish and would be glad to give his two if he was planning a meal or something. The other fly fisher held up his single fish - all 25 inches. The newbie's jaw dropped and exclaimed "Boy, if only I could ever catch something like that!" The harshness left the old timers face and he seemed to suddenly remember it wasn't about the most or the biggest, but just being able to be out and enjoying the time we have.

I've had people ask me why I don't become a guide, as I know the rivers and fish in my area so well. Well let's see. . .

    guide

    n.

    1. a.One who shows the way by leading, directing, or advising.
    b.One who serves as a model for others, as in a course of conduct.
    2.A person employed to conduct others, as through a museum, and give information about points of interest encountered.

    (From Online http://www.dictionary.com/)

When I "guide" it's only in the capacity of leading fellow fly fishers in waters that are unknown to them. I refuse to be paid for any instruction, flies provided and guiding. I firmly believe in friendship and not client relationship. Anytime money changes hands certain expectations and legal responsibilities come into play. Neither of which I chose to deal with. People who fish with me will catch fish, but not necessarily big fish all the time and most certainly not any guaranteed species. They will catch fish and usually a lot of them and most importantly we fish as friends, people sharing a common way of life.

I have a really hard time conversing or fishing with bass fishermen, more especially, pro bass fishermen. Don't get me wrong, it's not the people, it's the sport. It's always about the most fish and the biggest fish. This is because the bottom line is money. Time constraints of the contest and the ability to get to the best spots first and ample prize money has driven this style of fishing into a frenzy of competition. You think fly fishing is expensive? Serious bass fishing begins with a $20,000 boat and that's a low-end model! Gadgets you say? I've seen some really high tech boats with buttons, bells and whistles, including the now controversial underwater video cameras. Even if there is not a meet going on, it seems they are always in that mode of fishing. I asked one once what he did to relax. He simply replied without any humor " I go to work". . . Ouch! Not a way of life for me.

While keeping all of this in mind, try to keep it simple and relaxing. Fly fishing is a state of mind and a way of life in tune with nature. . . not just a hobby. ~ Hillfisher

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