This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
April 14th, 2008

Welcome Back

Dear Paul,
Thanks so much for your email - we are always delighted to hear from folks getting back into fly fishing. We have a terrific section, called Fly Fishing 101 which will help you a great deal - yes, things really have changed in the years you've been gone. You will probably see the biggest changes in fly rods and the lines, so take your time in purchasing a new outfit.

Also, register for our Bulletin Board and don't be afraid to ask questions. The Fly Anglers OnLine folks are most willing to help you out.

Glad you found us,
Deanna Birkholm
Publisher, FAOL

The name may be changed, but the content is pretty much the same. You may be surprised to learn the response to the email above is also pretty common. It happens more than you might expect.

The back story is similar too.

The person fished with their dad or other family member as a kid - perhaps even did some fly fishing. They may have also tied some flies. But along the line, as they grew up, life got in the way. Girls, cars, school, college, work, marriage, kids, house, mortgage, all the normal distractions. Then, years later, the thought of fly fishing surfaced.

Who knows what the trigger may have been. For a friend of ours, he was in Las Vegas hotel watching a fishing show on tv, and thought he would really like to try that. And he did. A magazine article or chance conversation with a friend all can lead down the path to a stream or pond.

Whatever the reason, the adventure and journey start all over. Anything from years ago pretty much doesn't apply, unless those early years included some real instruction on insects and reading the water.

For others, it is an invitation from a friend to join them fishing. Perhaps the person is a spin fisher, but the friend sees the possibility of converting them to fly fishing. Rick Zieger has done that many times. It actually is fun, and something of value to both people, since no one ever teaches anything without learning something himself.

Take a kid fishing? Not my first choice.

Before you start on a nasty email to me, consider this: If you do have a kid in your family who has expressed an interest in fishing, (note, I didn't say fly fishing) sure, go ahead and take the kid fishing. Don't plan on fishing yourself, just pay attention to the kid and making sure they get a good start. Down the line it may 'take' and perhaps you will have a fishing buddy - in fact, one who might take you fishing in your later years. But in reality, the kid isn't going to be involved much in the sport, and if he/she purchases anything for fishing it will probably be the entry level stuff from the mass retailers. They also aren't going to do anything to help maintain or preserve the watershed nor the fishing opportunities. That takes adult leadership and involvement.

I don't have a figure handy on how much of our excise taxes on fishing equipment has been spent by the federal Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, but it is very substantial. As in the millions.

JC and I watched one of the Boating commercials on television this morning, and I'm sorry, but I just can't justify spending $20,000 and up on a boat. At least not to fish from. Yes, I know it is done, but on the other hand, take a look at today's 'family' where half of the marriages end in divorce. What single mom or dad can afford to take the kids fishing? There isn't time much less money.

My sincere recommendation is to spend whatever excise tax money is available for advertising on getting the message to the folks who did fish years ago - and whose lives are now at a place where fly fishing not only gives them a recreation, but also a means of improving their mental health. (I'll bet you there is a way to justify that one.)

Forty-five years old and just getting into fly fishing? You bet. Welcome aboard. Boy are you going to have fun. Just look at all the goodies you've missed in the years you've been gone.

And there are wonderful places to fish you didn't even know about back then. What a delightful adventure you have before you.

Enjoy, you're old enough to appreciate what you've missed - and wise enough to know you have a lot to learn. What a terrific journey.

And we are here to help. Don't hesitate to ask. ~ The LadyFisher

If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

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