December 15th, 2003

Darn T.V. Shows
By James Castwell

I have been doing it again. Not that I am all that interested, but at that hour of a weekend morning when I don't have the time to fish, but have to work that day, I stupidly tune into those darn fly-fishing T.V. shows. I've got to quit doing that. I get all confused. I do enjoy seeing the different places these guys fish though, most of which I will never get to see, let alone fish.

This is one of my problems with them. There is always some young guide who knows all the hot spots and honey-holes where all the fish are. The 'Star' (dude doing the actual fishing) is usually much older, a few decades often, and seems to have no clue at all where he should drag his nymph. Now, after thirty or forty years of attempting to take fish using a fly, I think most of us would not need some whippersnapper kid telling us how and where to cast, how to play the fish and how to just stand there while he scampers downstream and scoops it up for us.

By golly, I'm no mental giant, but, I can recognize at least some of the little hidey-holes that fish like to hidey in. Seams and runs and pools and slicks and such places. So here we have the kid teaching the old guy. And the old guy plays his part in the theatrical as well. He always expresses his deepest appreciation to the kid for all the wonderful information he had shared. Goodie.

Now let's move on a bit further. When I fish, I fish alone; unless I am fishing with someone; then I still fish alone. You got that? I fish alone. You fish with me and we will never be close enough together to net each others fish except during lunch to share the grub. The problem here is this. Is it better to land a fish real fast and not tire it out? Sounds logical to me. But what of us old-timers who do not have a gillie to leap like a gazelle with out-thrust special rubber bottomed net and deftly swosh up our prize? I ask, what should we (I) do?

You see, when I get a fish on, I have to get at least even with him, or downstream to have a fair chance of success. Now, during such times as I am pirouetting the streambanks there is most often little play between me and the fish, we just try to stay connected. If I am wading in a stream, it is a bit of 'hold-em-in-the current-while-I-sneak-past-him' thing. Either way, when it's over, I end up with the fish real close to me and then I net it, or hand land in many cases.

This morning I watched a 'old-guy' (on T.V.) play a fish all by himself (he outwitted the guide). I was mentally cheering him on. "Go for it 'old-guy.' Too bad too, nice rainbow he had managed to drag back up stream on a light rod and a six-x tippet. Of course, when he grabbed the leader and tried to pull straight up, the thing became un-buttoned and swam off. Some things just should not be attempted. (Downstream hooking, dragging back against the current, grabbing the leader and lifting straight up on a nose hooked fish), just to mention a few.

This is where I am confused. Should we not fish alone? Should we always have a non-fishing accomplice to immediately net our catch, (as seen on a T.V. near you soon) or is it alright to play them in the conventional way? In fact, is a fish really caught if I cast downstream, hang a fish and have a guy hop in and snatch it up with his trusty long-handled net? Is that considered ethical? Is it fly-fishing? It is what is being shown and taught to the viewers of today's T.V. shows.

Hell, even on that 'Masters' fly-fishing thing some guy runs out to his partner with a net. I always have to handle my own fish. Why can't just one of these T.V. programs show it like it actually is in the real world of fly-fishing. Come on ESPN, ESPN2, OLN and any other guy with a video camera. Just once, try doing it for real. You are losing your viewers to that darned Fly Anglers OnLine Internet joint. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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