January 19th, 2004

The Myth of the 'Purist'
By James Castwell


First off, there may not be such a thing. A 'Purist.' We have all heard rumors of them, a bit like 'bigfoot,' or the 'Lock Ness Monster,' but when did you ever see one in person? I mean a full fledged, dyed-in-the-wool Purist? Oh sure, the bait-slingers all whine about the 'Purist' this and the 'Purist' that, but pin them down on just exactly who it is they are talking about and watch them clam up.

For my first bit of evidence I will suggest that all the stories of the 'Purist' screwing up the fishing for these guys is bunk. No 'Purist' would ever be caught in the same local as they frequent. Can you visualize a 'Purist' and a bunch of worm-stranglers fishing the same pool? Never happened, never will. The same can hold true of the 'Purist' in a fancy 'Fly Shoppe.' What the hell would a bait-bouncer be doing in a fancy 'Fly Shoppe?' So there you have it, if the 'Purist' even did exist the two could never have been in actual contact.

Just what is a 'Purist' supposed to be anyway? From what I can gather he should only fish dry flies, only to rising trout (brookies preferably), of course only upstream, cane rod, silk line, gut leader and hand tied (no vise) fly (damn small).

A walking stick (wading staff), a Tyrolean hat, proper vest, argyle socks and a tie. So, just when did you see one of these? I ask you point blank. Never, I suggest. Again, debunking the myth of the 'Purist.' Evidence seems to suggest they could not possibly exist, only a figment of an over active imagination of those inclined to dig worms.

On the other hand, perhaps it may be too bad that the 'Purist' does not in actuality exist. Look at it this way. Say you and he live in the same region, fish the same streams, even know each other and sometimes fish together. Say he knows of a dandy pool on a little known stream. Should he tell you about it? You might think that would be a good thing, but you would be wrong my friend. Forever and ever, when ever you fished the pool you would be fishing 'his' pool. It would be a far better thing for him to do, not ever mention it to you. Let you discover it on your own, then you could fish it at your leisure, a much preferred situation. This is how a 'Purist' might do things.

Would a 'Purist' tell you exactly which fly he just caught that big brown on? Again, you probably guessed wrong. Of course he wouldn't. The rewards to you of figuring things like that out by yourself are self evident. Would he help you with your casting? Make it known he was far superior to you? Embarrass you like that? Never, if you got better you might get to be just as good as him.

It seems that the 'Purist,' if ever he did materialize would be a real friend, fish on his own, keep his mouth shut about flies and places and casting. All in all, the 'Purist' might make the perfect fishing companion. ~ James Castwell


Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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