Al Campbell, Field Editor

February 4th, 2002

Junk Mail Rantings
By Al Campbell

I'm tired of junk mail. I seem to be a target for this stuff through the regular mail and through e-mail. I can fill a trashcan in a week with the printed junk I get through the mail. I delete over 600 junk e-mail messages per week, and the volume seems to increase on a daily basis. It makes it hard to find the items that really need my attention.

Although I don't think it's junk mail, another thing that takes several hours of my time each week is e-mail messages that ask for personal instructions or answers to problems that are already solved or easily solved on this web site. Those messages involve a variety of problems or questions, but they all point to one problem; people don't want to read or research problems for themselves. Let me give you a few examples.

About ten times a week someone asks me to send them detailed instructions for tying a fly that is covered in a fly tying series or a Fly-Of-The-Week pattern here at FAOL. I'm not talking about questions about a problem wrapping a hackle or adjusting a tail; I'm talking about people wanting me to send them detailed instructions (with pictures) for tying a certain fly (like the Adams) that is covered in detail on FAOL.

About as often, someone e-mails me asking for a list of suppliers of fly tying or rod building supplies. A few get pretty indignant when I refer them to the sponsor section for their answer. Folks, the sponsors listed in the sponsor section are there by invitation because they provide good products and good service. If I tell you that Hook & Hackle has great fly tying supplies at great prices, or that Sage has great fly rods, is that advice any more valid in an e-mail than it is on the sponsor board? I would think it was less valid because it expresses only my experience or opinion rather than the experiences and opinions of the group represented by FAOL.

I don't know if many of you realize it, but there is no secret fly that works for all fish, all the time. I can't remember the last day when I didn't get an e-mail that asked "which fly works?" The answer to that question is "they all work." Every fly ever tied will work somewhere at some time on some species of fish. The problem is figuring out where and when to use that fly. You'll find a lot of hints on the where, when and how stuff in the text that accompanies the instructions to tie that fly. Odds are you'll find that fly or one similar to it here on FAOL, if you use the search feature provided for you.

Want to build your own fly tying kit or starter set-up? You'll find info on that subject in the fly tying section of this site. Need a fly tying tip? Try the tying tips columns in the fly tying section. Odds are good that your question has already been covered. Curious about the best patterns for your area? The bulletin board has readers from around the globe that can answer those kinds of questions.

I'm flattered by those who think I'm the expert on fly selection and techniques for places like Argentina, Australia or Malaysia; but in truth, I've never been there and don't have a clue. I appreciate the trust, but I don't know what flies work best in New York streams in June. I guess I'm not as well traveled as some people think I am. However, there is a bulletin board here that has people who are experts in those areas who will provide accurate information to anyone who will use the board as a tool for finding that information. Give it a try; you might be surprised by how quickly you get an honest answer.

Best fishing hole on the Bow River in Alberta, Canada? I don't have a clue. However, I do know my favorite spot on Rapid Creek, inside the city limits of Rapid City, SD. I can even tell you my favorite fly for that place any time of year you choose. I'm an expert on fishing Rapid Creek, but not the Campbell River even though I share the same name. However, I'd bet a week's salary that there are experts on Canadian rivers who frequent the bulletin board here on FAOL.

My point here is to focus your attention on the features this unique internet magazine and web site has to offer to you, the reader. There are some qualified experts here that can help you with a variety of questions. Some of those experts have never written a column for any magazine or web site, but they frequent the bulletin board and are your best source for info on their particular area. All you need to do is ask the question in the right place. You might find the answer to your question by using the search feature here. Just type a word you want to research and hit the enter key on your keyboard. I'll bet on the fact that there is more fly-fishing info contained on this site than you thought existed anywhere on the internet. Over 7,000 pages.

So, my friends; keep those cards and letters coming. You might consider sending cash too. If you send enough, I might be able to afford a few trips to some of the exotic locations I have been asked about. It sure would help me answer some of the questions I get. Of course, you could always save the money for your own trips so you can find out first-hand what the fishing is like. Then you could write a column on the experiences you had on the trip so I would have someplace to send the next guy who asked about the fishing in that place. It sure would be helpful. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns
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