When I was in high school, I had an English teacher
who told us that the key to success was a good
vocabulary. She said the best way to expand your
vocabulary and your chances for success, was to
learn a new word and its definition every day.
She was right; if you want to be successful, you
need a better vocabulary.
As flyfishers, we already have a unique vocabulary,
and a grand one it is. We get to use great words
like dubbing and mending and drifting; but do we
really know what those words mean? If you look
them up in a dictionary, you'll only get confused.
The only way to get it right is to have a writer of
the flyfisher's language teach you the meanings.
That's what I intend to do; teach you the language.
I promise that at least some of what I teach you will
be true. It's your duty to discover what that something
is. You want to be successful, don't you? Your future
depends on it, so don't muff this one up.
For starters, learn these few simple words in the
flyfisher's vocabulary, and you'll be on your way to
a brighter future and grand success. If you learn
exceptionally well, you could be on your way to a
job as a flyfishing writer. That, coupled with a
full-time day job should keep you fed; and if you
do exceptionally well at the day job, you might be
able to afford a fishing trip or two. See what I
mean? You're on the way to success already.
Without further delay, here are some words you must
know the meaning to, if you want to be successful
Mending - According to the dictionary, this
would be an act of repairing. That would mean that
mending a fly line is an act of repairing a damaged
fly line. This word had more meaning before silk
lines were replaced with the new plastic versions.
Why somebody decided that this is something you can
do without a needle and thread is beyond me.
There you have it, a good start to a larger vocabulary.
If my teacher was right, you are bound to be more
successful because of it too. Don't you feel better now?
Drift - This is the act of moving aimlessly
down a current with little or no control over the
direction of travel. The way some people fish a fly;
that would be a correct definition.
Dubbing - According to the dictionary, this is
the act of conferring a title on someone or something.
That would be the process of naming the fly you just
created. No wonder there is so much talk about the
proper way to apply dubbing. It's a disgrace to name
a fly improperly.
Back-cast - as you will notice, this is a
hyphenated word. That means that both words used to
make up the selected word have their own meaning.
It also means that the hyphenated word has a meaning
that is somewhat connected to the individual words.
To further define this word, you must understand
the meanings on the individual words.
First the word "back." That is a part of your anatomy
that keeps your head off the ground. Thus, your back
keeps your body erect and standing tall, and if it is
strong, it keeps your head out of the water so you
Then there is the word "cast." A cast is a stiff, hard
object placed on the anatomy to strengthen that portion
of the anatomy, usually for the purpose of healing. If
you have a weak or injured part of your anatomy, a cast
would be used to help that part of the anatomy perform
its function while it recovered from its injury or weakness.
Thus, a back-cast is something you put on before you
go fishing so your head won't slip underwater and cause
you to drown. That's why people tell you to keep your
back-cast up. If you don't, it might slip down around
your knees and you might drown anyway.
See; you already learned how to successfully prevent
accidental drowning from a dropped back-cast.
Roll-cast - Another hyphenated word, so we must
define each part of the word to grasp its true meaning.
A roll is something you eat. It might be a cinnamon
roll or a dinner roll, but it is something you eat.
The word "cast" has an additional meaning. In addition
to the noun we used earlier, it can be a verb meaning
to throw something. In this case, it is a verb.
Therefore, a roll-cast is the act of tossing somebody a
roll at the dining table. This is especially useful if
reaching across the table might cause you to strain
something you don't want to strain. That could harm
your fishing form.
Strike-indicator - Don't you just love those
A strike is something workers stage to protest low wages,
poor working conditions or other management practices.
It's also something people do to protest things they
don't like for some reason.
An indicator is something that reveals movement or
other qualities in something else. For instance,
an economic-indicator reveals the trends in the economy.
Therefore, a strike indicator reveals the effectiveness
or direction of a strike. This is especially useful if
people are picketing your fishing hole to protest slow
biting fish, and you want to have some way to recognize
if their strike is close to ending so you can fish that
Fly-line - OK, I promise this is the last hyphenated word.
A fly is usually something known as an insect. It could
also be an artificial thing used to imitate an insect.
A line is otherwise known as a story that is rather hard
to believe. It might be used in a sentence something
like this: "Did you hear that line he was telling about
that big fish?"
Thus, a fly-line would be a story about an insect or
an item used to imitate an insect. To put the hyphenated
word in the correct context, it would go something like
this: "Did you hear that fly-line he was trying to get
us to believe?"
Outdoor-writer - So I lied about it being the
last one. I'm a fisherman; what do you expect?
Outdoor is a descriptive word use to describe something
that isn't indoors.
A writer is a storyteller. He/she does the story telling
on paper, usually in publications like magazines and books.
So, you would conclude from the two words that an
outdoor-writer would be a person who tells or more
correctly, writes stories while outdoors, but that
isn't true at all. In fact, most outdoor-writers
do all their story telling indoors, but they tell
stories about the outdoors. I know; it doesn't
make any sense, but when did people in my profession
make sense anyway?