This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

April 6th, 2009

Let Me Count The Ways

I must say I am forever amazed at how many ways there are for fly anglers to be involved and how they 'see' fly fishing.

For example, the latest issue of Midwest Fly Fishing has very interesting article by Lisa Lemler titled 'Fly Fishing – the Yogi Within.' The basis is in fact, one does heighten their personal experience with very small efforts, "taking a moment to notice the feel of the fly line between your thumb and forefinger; closing your eyes and listening for the sound of the fishing rising." The previous quote is true – or correct if you prefer. Lisa's article shows direct connections between the practice of Yoga and enhancement of the fly fishing experience.

That is one way of looking at it.

Over the years as we've taught fly fishing classes, we've had several people tell us that casting and golf strokes seem related and taking a fly casting class actually helped their golf stroke (and game.)

Raymond C. Shewnack's new book, The Fly-Fishing Predator, divides fly fishing into three segments. Watch, Listen and Sense. Over the years, Raymond has adopted the attitude of a fly fishing predator, learning to capture his prey in the most effective and efficient way while maintaining the emotional satisfaction of angling and developing a deep appreciation for the trout's environment.

The many and varied rewards of fly fishing may be the reason why 'the movie,' A River Runs Through It was so popular. Our sport underwent a huge increase (some say 20% or more) just on the strength of the movie. Reality did eventually set in. Some folks really were hooked and are as avid fly fishers as any of us. A whole lot more left for other interests, cigars and wines deemed to be 'in'.

You fly fish for your own reasons. Have you spent much time thinking about how or why you fish? Is it important to do so? Maybe not any more important than just maintaining ones sanity. (I had someone very recently tell me, "FAOL has saved my life." I did not ask how or why. I felt I was intruding on soft ground, sort of tip-toeing around quick sand.)

If you tie flies you know that is a whole other world itself. Some tie only flies they know live in their local water, others only dry flies, others still only wets. Some tie dries without wings, others wouldn't consider that at all. God love the folks who tie the beautiful Altantic and Steelhead flies. The patience and level of knowledge required is well above my pay grade.

But it is just one more aspect of fly fishing.

Want to dissect it more? How about what you fish for? Saltwater? Big toothy fish? Warmwater? Salmon? Atlantic salmon? (No, they are not the same) Trout? Only wild trout? Carp?

Then there are the collectors. We know one person who is not in the fly fishing business who has over 600 bamboo fly rods. (The remark was made the price of the bamboo rods did not take a nose dive when the stock market did.) He loves those rods, but freely admits they are a terrific investment. We know others who are in the business who have that many but they deal in the rods. There are people who collect creels, reels, flies and lures of all kind, and I saw someone on our Bulletin Board this past week asking for fly fishing patches.

It doesn't end. There is all sorts of fly fishing fine art, paintings and sculpture.

All of the above are pretty much tangibles, but you might give a little thought to all the side benefits of the photos you've collected not to mention the memories.

Some time when the world is getting too close, find yourself a trout stream (or bluegill pond) and spend a little time thinking about how you got there. Your own fishing history. I suspect you will feel better without spending a dime. ~ DLB

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