This Week's View|
by Deanna Lee Birkholm
January 7th, 2002
The Essence of Gary LaFontaine
In Memory of Gary LaFontaine who died January 4th, 2002, from his book,
Trout Flies, Proven Patterns:|
Archive of Ladyfisher Articles
"In 1991 I fished more than any year since 1959, when I was
twelve and my parents let me fish all the time because, in
their words, 'That's the only time he isn't getting into
trouble.' I fished hard, very hard. It wasn't like any of
the past twenty years, when research and work would interrupt.
I've always fished between 150 and 200 days a season, but often
a 'day' meant a few hours in the morning or evening. In 1991
I spent six to twelve hours nearly every day for myself. Many
times friends came with me, but if no one was available, my
dog Chester and I went to any water that promised hot action.
The quest was for that feeling every anglers wants but never
gets in his fishing. Here I was with a full set of proven flies
and enough time to work these flies on familiar waters. My goal
was to wipe out doubt - the doubt that makes us stare stupidly
into a box of imitations and attractors and mumble, 'Eenie,
meenie, miney, mo . . .'
My fishing car ended up with more than 30,000 new miles on it.
The wear and tear of fishing destroyed a floating line roughly
every four weeks. At the end of every day of dog-crazy flogging
there was barely enough time to tie flies, knot leaders, and
patch equipment. Telling any of this to friends inevitably made
them hum screechy tunes and fiddle imaginary violins.
The log entries, recording successes on Montana rivers or lakes
with all sixty-two of the patterns in the trout series, give a
warped view of the fishing however. Those experiences are culled
from nearly four hundred days of fishing over two seasons. They
are the moments when the answers to those trout mysteries seemed
simple enough. The other days, the ones that are not here, the
mindless flailing for random fish or endless casting for no fish
at all, told the truth: The waters are not as great as they seem
here; the flies are not as great as they seem here; I am not as
great as I seem here - and there are no ultimate answers."
~ Gary LaFontaine
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