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June 26th, 2000

KISS
By James Castwell


Basics...

Every so often I need to go back to the basics, my basics. Sometimes it's my fly-casting, sometimes it's other stuff, tying maybe, but I still do it; and I still recommend it. By now you already are into fly fishing and have at least some gear. You probably have a good idea of how to use the things you have. Probably, if it hasn't happened by now, someone you know will show some interest in fly fishing and ask for your opinion and/or help.

And you don't feel you are really qualified to help. Baloney. You bet you can. Just remember to start with the basics, the questions you ask him will make the difference. Ask 'basic' questions, he will give you the information you need to help him.

One good one might be, "What fish do you want to fish for, and where?"

He might say, "bass in some of these little lakes."

You reply, "what have you been using so far?"

"Johnson Silver Minnow and Jitter-bug."

"With," you challenge?

"Bait casting outfit."

Ok, you now know he has some knowledge of bass fishing, uses top-water and deep stuff. Translated into fly fishing that means deer-hair mice and woolly-buggers. You know these are not size twelve flies, more like eights or so. Should he have a three weight, five weight, or an eight weight rod? You KNOW he will ask you what rod to buy. At this point it is not so much the brand, but the size (weight) that will get him started right or wrong.

What you are doing here is balancing the rod to the fly he will be using to catch the fish he is going after. Basics. Try not to let him 'fall in love' with some rod because it is on sale, or his dad always used a certain weight.

Go with him to the store if possible. As you see now, if you start at the wrong end, if you start with, "Gee, I want to get into fly fishing, what rod should I get?" That's backwards. He will need information on a fly line. Well, it's bass. What line will pitch a bass bug? Right, a 'bass-bug' taper. Probably a WF5F line is in order. (By now you have figured out he needs a five weight rod, right?)

Now, here is the real hard part. Price! Sure, his wallet will play a part, but, don't let him spend too much. Even if he is loaded! Why? In all probability he will break his first rod. Not everyone does, but, most do. Remember, he does not even know how to cast yet, let alone how to 'set the hook,' or land a fish. He's an accident just waiting to happen.

Brand? It doesn't matter at this point. Make sure he likes it. The more he likes it, the better care he will take of it and that is important. Same with the fly line, get a pretty color. Spend a bit on the line, as you know lines will last a while and a good one will out-perform a low-end line.

Now he needs a reel too. Unless he is starting with twelve pound 'bucket-mouth' bass, get him something simple. Forget the fancy disc-drag things, basic 'clicker' type will be just fine. The important thing is to balance all of his stuff to the original idea, bass in a pond.

Trout? He doesn't fish bass, it's trout? So? Same principle. How big are the trout he is after and how big is the water he is going to fish? Good time to use the old 'KISS' system; "Keep It Simple, Stupid." Starting with the basics means start with the fly and work from there. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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