He sits at his desk in pajamas and bathrobe,
five day beard, wastebasket overflowing with
crumpled sheets of typing paper. Vapid eyes
staring blankly at yet another blank sheet
in the old manual typewriter. His mind is
numb, wrung-out, devoid and squoze of thought.
Imagine having a job that you never knew when
you would get paid and or how much or where
the next job might be. And it was mostly up
to you. And you had damn little control over
it. Fun stuff. Most folks call it 'writing for
a living.' Nothing to it really. Depending on
how you handle it. Freelance. Shoot from the
hip. Crank out stuff and submit it everywhere.
Risky business, easy to starve that way.
Only work on 'assignments.' Great, where do
you get those? Not a bad way, spotty and hard
to land. There are several other ways to go
broke and/or starve in the writing business.
Someday I may list more of them just for fun.
Not right now though.
What if you were a writer though, just what
if you had to come up with an idea about fly
fishing once a week. Just one idea. Nothing
fancy, earthshaking, revolutionary, a simple
idea which may possibly be of some help to a
fair sized percentage of those who have nothing
else better to do than read what you write each
Ok, so what will you write about for your second
week? And yet, there are those who seem to be
able to do it, column after column, week after
week, year after year.
What happens when they get to the end. When they
have said it all. When they can not think of one
darn thing they have not said. Well, they better,
huh? To be creative one needs a free and open mind,
no pressure or stress. Even the little things of
everyday life need to be in order. No big bills,
no one sick, no major problems. Trust me, it is
not like that. That is a fantasy. But. No
ideas = No writing = No money = Starvation!
That is to be avoided at all costs.
On that subject, this morning we were on the phone
with one of the guys who writes for us on a regular
basis. He is not out of ideas, but from time to
time it's good to touch base's with each other.
During the conversation it came up to write about
questions not answers. Heck, we all have questions
and, at least for myself, darn few answers; just
re-read many of my past columns to prove that.
When a fishing writer is getting down to the bottom
of his barrel of nifty thoughts, he can do a couple
of things. Best is get out there. Go fishing! The
other is read. Read anything on fishing or fly-fishing.
Sooner or later a spark will ignite and off you go.
You will either agree or not with the author. Bingo,
there is your story.
For instance how about this? A day or so ago, in
a hard cover book, a line jumped out at me. Roughly
quoting, 'since trout seem to pay so much more
attention to the various aspects of a dry fly,
why do so many guys spend so much time on the
details of a nymph?'
Oh no you don't! I'm not stepping into that trap.
Which one? No thank you. My question is this. Do
they? Do trout really pay any attention to the
colors, hues, ribbing, tails, hackle on a dry more
than on a nymph or a wet fly? I have no idea. At
this point in the game I prefer to fish dry if at
all possible so I will say I think that the attitude
on the water, the size and hue of the fly are about
all that is important. Presentation of course is
When it comes to something under the surface,
nymphs and wets, they should get a much better
look at it. Many seem to think so. I bet this
question could start a few bar-fights if handled
properly. Just take one side or the other in a
watering hole in Roscoe, NY and then duck under
the nearest table; better yet, hit the door
There are the 'impressionists' in both camps.
Wet and dry. And there are the 'imitationists'
as well. Both styles will fool trout wet and
dry. So what is all the fuss about? Are we
being silly about high priced fancy tying
materials? Just what the heck are we doing
There, I got through another one. ~ JC