This column may be of some value or not, but
hopefully, it's no worse than most of mine. Being
winter time I get to thinking more than in other
seasons, not sure if that is good or bad, hence
the opening sentence. I got to thinking about some
of you who keep records. Records in little books or,
fashionable these days, on the computer. The LF and
I were sitting around in the livingroom last week and
got into a rather long discussion about this stuff. I
put the T.V. on mute and thought I might share a bit
of what evolved. These are a few of the elements
we talked about.
"Let's assume you fished for twenty or thirty
years and have never kept a record of anything,
I said as I reached for my coffee cup on the
end table. To start now may not be a good idea."
"Why," she asked?
I raised an eyebrow and replied, "Well, you have
gone this long without any, how's that working for
you? Ok, I guess, or you would have started before
She said, "Or, what if you have kept a few notes
scribbled in a little pad over time and you decide
to organize them, perhaps even put them on your PC.
That wouldn't too hard to do. You could examine
each month and see how many fish you got on an
"I suppose you could track all sorts of things that
way. Suppose it shows that you averaged 3.3 fish each
time you fished in the month of July over the years."
Settling back into her chair and unbuttoning her
focus from the ceiling fan, she said, "You know what?"
"Follow this for a bit," she put her fingers together
in a little church shape under her chin like she does
when she is really on point.
"The next time you go out, say it's in July and you
only get 2.2 fish, you have failed to live up to your
average. You may be aware of it while on the stream
too and for sure that will change how you view the event."
"You're saying that keeping records might change your
fly-fishing and perhaps not for the best?"
"Sure," she said. "Or at least be aware that it could
happen. Keeping track of where, when, who, what etc.
may seem like a neat idea but may take you to a
different place in our sport."
"And one from which you will not be able to retreat.
Neat!" Returning from the kitchen, I topped off both
coffee cups. "You can not 'un-ring' a bell, I said.
"Once you know the real facts, they may be impossible
She did the hand church thing again and after a moment,
"Maybe just going out and fishing as usual would be
the best plan after all. And the same may be true about
some of your tackle. That big inventory you have always
thought should be done may be better left alone too.
Do you really want to know how many rods, reels, spare
spools, fly lines and fly boxes you actually do own?"
Well, that idea came from way out in left field (not
uncommon for our conversations) and I took a bit of
time to answer it.
I put my cup down, "Sure, you are saying that if you
are just starting out that one is pretty easy, one rod,
one reel, one fly line one fly-box and 'some' flies.
But at my stage in life, it might scare hell out of me?"
"Yup," she said. "Everything you do is so damned organized
it is ridiculous. Fly fishing is supposed to be recreation,
relaxing, fun stuff; time for you and me."
I agreed. How could I not. She paddled off to her computer
and I did the same. I got to thinking about those guys
who have a clicker on their vest and record each fish
rose, missed, hooked or released, hope it's working
for them. Whether or not, it's probably not possible
to change now.
From my perspective I chose not to keep records. I have
some 'Tide-Logs' that over the years I have made a few
notes in, but really never have gone back to read them,
probably never will. Certainly not to influence any
And yet, I am sure some of you are deliriously happy
with fly-fishing and your scrupulous record keeping
along with it and that is fine too.
My point is, kind of look before you leap, think about,
see if it may change things for you. If it might, forget
about it. ~ James Castwell