Outdoor Writers Association of America
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

January 3rd, 1999

New Year, New Millennium, new . .?

Isn't each and every day a new day? When we get up in the morning (or whatever time your work schedule allows) isn't that a 'new' day?

And just how do we treat or approach that new day? Is the newness of the year 2000 something different? Or is it just another number and some more hype?

If you stop and think for a moment, we each have an opportunity to treat in any way we chose each day, each job, each situation, each challenge, each person we encounter in a variety of ways. We can do the same things we have been doing in the same way - especially if the results are what works for us - or we can change.

It's been said before, those who repeat the same behavior, expecting different results are clinically crazy. We can apply that to most everything in our lives. Our work, our relationships with friends and family, just about everything. Drinking to excess and expecting it not to affect the rest of your life and relationships is nuts. The same with drug abuse. Some folks who realize the behavior isn't working do get help, clean up their act, and amazingly, their lives change! Things get better. It may take some time, but hey, they didn't get where they were overnight either.

Those little facts of life also hold true in fly fishing. A person can fly fish for a number of years and not have very good results. Instead of having say ten years experience, it's one year's experience ten times. Go back and read that again.

So how much experience do you really have? Are you learning? Have you really learned how to cast? On a short cast can you drop the fly under the overhanging branches upstream and to the left? Or right? How long a drift can you get drag free? Do you ever need to make a downstream mend? Or is all line mending done upstream? Hmmmmm, that's not a trick question! Can you put the slack line on either end of the cast to compensate for faster water on either side? Or in the middle?

Can you identify the major insects in your region? And when they hatch? And what color are they on the bottom where the trout see them? Accounting for regional variations what is the color and size of your hatches? And if you are fishing barbless what size leader should you now be able to use compared to using the same size fly with a barb?

I'm not trying to play "king of the hill" here, I'm not an expert, and I'm still learning! Which of course is one of the many joys of fly fishing in the first place - but! Some folks seem to feel if they have been fishing a couple of years they are "expert." They have no idea what they are missing.

It is the joy of learning something NEW! Making progress, solving just one of the myriad of mysteries of fly fishing, another step toward understanding the fish in their world. And maybe a little understanding of ourselves in the process.

Want to do something that will really make a mark in the new millennium?

Improve your fly fishing skills. ~ LadyFisher

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