July 1st, 2002

Uncle John
By James Castwell

My dad had three brothers, all four of them fished; one, my uncle John, was a 'fly-fisherman.' I became aware of that by the time I was eight. Now, fishing was something my dad, his brothers and I did often, mostly for panfish, sometimes perch in Saginaw Bay, Michigan, or walleye's from Silver Lake, Traverse City, Michigan. In the summer we would sit on the banks of the 'dredge-cuts' which led into Lake Huron and bucket-up a nice mess of fair sized yellow perch for dinner. Fishing was indeed something we did, we all did.

Now, consider for a moment, if a person plays golf, would he be referred to as a 'golfer,' or would that term mean he made his living at it? How about bowling? Same thing? Hunting? I am not sure of the answers to those or if they even are fair questions. But, I do know, that although every male in our family fished, only one had 'become' a fly-fisherman.

Odd how it was perceived back then, at least by me. Like he was different in some way, mind you some very good, even almost magical way, but, he was not like the rest, he was a fly-fisherman. And that certainly set him apart from the rest in my mind, and all of humanity as far as I was concerned as well.

He was 'good with his hands,' it was called. I remember one time when I was very young visiting him, he took me into his 'work-shop' and we made a small sail-boat, it was about a foot long. Wow, I was impressed and hooked on doing stuff like that. Later, in my very early teens I got a job building models for a local hobby shop. I know it was from the early introduction to craft I had from Uncle John.

He made me my first fly tying vise. A bit on the heavy side, but, it was mine and I treasured it for decades, finally passing it down in the family. With the vise, some modest gear for fly fishing and a role-model in the family, there was no way I could escape my future.

We have had recently on the Bulletin Board here a string about when a person is a fly-fisherman, or what is a fly-fisherman. The replies were divergent and at times a bit stringent, almost to a hostile attitude. It seems many have their own ideas on the subject, and those ideas were as varied as were the responders.

It seems that those who fish, do just that, they fish. But, those who fly fish, at some point in the evolvement, 'become' fly-fishermen. In other words, 'Fishing is what one does; a fly-fisherman is what one becomes.' Each of us being different, with diverging goals, and attitudes and desires can become a fly-fisherman. As that happens, we all make up a group known as, 'Fly-fishermen.' So what does it take to be one, what is one, who is one? I guess it is up to each of us to determine. Whatever in your mind makes it so, it is. We all are, we each are, in varying degrees, fly-fishermen, each in our own waters, each in our own way, plying our rods and seeking our prey.

Many of us can remember the exact time and place where we believe we became one. For others, it just seemed to have happened along the way, and for the rest, we have no clue at all. And as scattered are the times, so are the reasons. They are legion and yet as all valid. We are what we are; we are who we are, by choice. I think it was my choice... ~ ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

All Previous Castwell Articles
If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ]

FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice