A FLY FISHING ESSAY
A FLY FISHING ESSAY
By: Tom Travis
I almost never write about the art of fly casting as there are many who do it better than I and can draw or photograph so very proper the positions, angles and so forth used in the art of fly casting.
However I will say that a technical perfect fly caster isn't always the best fly angler. Fly fishing is a blend of fly casting, knowledge of insects that the trout feed on, knowledge of the trout and understanding of the water types the trout are found in. That is coupled with knowledge of the fly patterns used to deceive the trout on the waters we fish. [The same things applies to warm water and salt water fly anglers]
All of this is blended together is fly fishing, along with a wonder appreciation of the places we fish and the enjoyment we have while on the water.
Also realizing that trout can't read or make rules therefore we must be observant to the angling situation encountered on a daily basis.
Some think that all that needs to be written about fly fishing has already been done and published. These individuals have allowed their minds to get trapped and without the constant questioning, where then would the fun be? Then fly fishing becomes a sport of mechanical repetition devoid of most thought and the catching of as many fish as possible becomes the final goal of the exercise.
In fly fishing the journey towards the goal of landing a trout is as important to the sport as the fact of catching the fish. That is why fly anglers are always writing, seeking and questioning all facets of fly fishing as it means so many different things to so many fly anglers.
What the trout sees is not as important as how the trout's brain processes this information. We as fly fishers are really nothing more than illusionist hoping to trick the trout into eating our offerings much like a politician deceives the people into voting for him or her.
Some yearn for a simpler time when fly fishing was less complex and simpler. Yet when we were living those simpler times, we were questing and actively seeking knowledge to improve our abilities on the water, personally I find this attitude a very amusing paradox.
I never fear failure on the water because the art of fly fishing is not only complex, it is to complex with too many variables for any angler to be 100% successful all of the time. Furthermore failure keeps me humble and willing to challenge those failures to gain a better understanding of the trout and the situation encountered.
Am I a serious Fly Angler? Oh yes I am, I am driven to understand and explore this wonderful sport and laugh and have fun each and every day that I spend on the water! I am not shamed by a failure, what shame could I suffer; oh the fish are lining up to laugh as I wade or walk by the stream or perhaps there are anglers standing in long lines to laugh at my failure. Come on, give me a break, fly fishing is an individual sport where my failures challenge me and excites me for the next day a stream.
The fly angler should refrain from using phrases like "always happens" or phrases that include the word "never". Because as sure as you do the time, the place or the trout will prove you wrong.
That is why I believe that writing about situational angling problems teach much more than general angling pronouncements, however both the readers and the writer needs to be very clear and place the information in the proper context.
Fly fishing is a sport with a long history and many times through history various subjects have been rehashed and re-discussed and at times anglers have taken strong stands even going to the trouble of trying to have one method or another discredited or banned. This I find silly and in the long run not very effective. At one time the art of nymphing was outlawed on certain waters. At one time strike indicators were looked down on and referred to as fly fishing with a bobber. Today I see anglers use indicators that are largest enough to be used as an anchor buoy for a larger boat.
Now some of these oddities I have no wish to involve myself in, however I also do not care if others wish to fly fish in this matter. For me to be an effective fly angler I need to keep an open mind and not clutter it up with the actions of other and this allows me to concentrate on the trout.
Regardless, fly fishing is suppose to be fun and one man's fun is another man's problem and that is why fly fishing is really an individual endeavor where one can take it to any level and be perfectly happy.
Go Forth, Fish & Enjoy!