October 10th, 2005

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .

I Have This RASH
By Clint Talmadge (Bluegill Budd)

Before you tell me to get some Calamine Lotion, bear with me for a while. This RASH, read that Recreational Activity, Sport, Hobby, is Fly-Fishing. I recently considered the appropriateness of getting some store bought flies. I will add that while I do and have had some store bought flies, I have never actually bought a Fishing Fly. I bought a Nymph wallet from Orvis once that came with 6 nymphs (all gone now) and my brother bought me two small collections of flies when he fished Scotland which I still have since I never fished them. Other than that, I have tied or traded with other tiers, what I have used for every fly with which I have fished.

The question of appropriateness is because I wondered how much of a Fly Fisher I am. I will use the term Fly Fisher because I am sensitive to the fact that our RASH is a gender-less pursuit. There are many levels of Fly Fishers. From the fellow with a spinning rod and reel and a casting bubble dragging a fly across the current to the other who, grew his own cane, split and glued it, varnished and wrapped it, tied the fly from an original pattern, affixed to the line and fished it from a canoe that he built himself in the workshop.

I am somewhere between the two. Admittedly I am closer to the second than the first. I say that to let you know who I am, rather than bragging about my position in the hierarchy of Fly Fishers.

When I was introduced to fly fish by John Scoggins in the rivers and ponds around Nashua New Hampshire, fly tying was taught as part of the pursuit. I never considered buying flies because I always thought that to make the experience complete, one had to make what he or she used. And at John's suggestion I even built my own rod, but found the effort tedious and not worth my time given my only fair results.

So I wondered if I would consider myself less of a Fly Fisher if I were to buy some flies. I only considered my own opinion since my opinion of myself is really the only one that counts.

There were two aspects of the question, one practical and the other philosophical. From a practical point of view, I recently found some sites, such as Flyshack.com and Hills Discount Flies (both FAOL Sponsors) and they have individual flies and assortments that appear, at least on my computer screen to be terrific bargains. I can easily see myself spending at least what they are asking for these flies, to be able to tie them myself. This is partly due to the fact that I have to travel two hours to visit a Fly Shop where I can buy an assortment of materiel. So I wondered if these store bought flies were a viable addition to my fly boxes. Then I figured that many Fly Fishers have never tied a fly and have caught many fish. So if these folks are catching fish using store bought flies, they must be, at the very least, acceptable to the fish. This time the only opinion I considered was the fishes' since in this case the fishes' opinion is the only one that counts. So, on the practical side the decision to buy some flies has been made. But now I have to consider the philosophical aspect.

Would I be less satisfied catching a fish on a fly that I bought, as opposed to one I had tied myself? I count some of my best hours as those fishing with a store bought rod, in a store bought canoe. I don't think the satisfaction of knowing that I tied the fly was the pivotal point in the enjoyment of those hours. So I guess I will buy some flies and have to spend countless hours continuing my quest for the deeper meaning of The Complete Fly Fisher's experience. ~ Clint


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