You may have heard of the "Tallest Poppy" theory. If
not, here is the gist of it. Imagine you have a field
of poppies. Lovely, except there are a few which are
taller than the rest. To improve the view, you cut off
all the taller ones. Well, looking at it there are a
couple poppies which are a bit taller, we better cut
those off too. The view now shows a nice even field
of poppies. No one flower detracts by being 'too tall.'
But in a day or two, some other poppies will grow a
little faster, we'll have to cut those off too.
Eventually, there won't be any poppies at all, just weeds.
This theory can be applied to all sorts of things.
Governments and societies included. You know there
are societies where the taller poppies are removed,
or silenced. No, this isn't a diatribe on political
science, but it does apply to fly fishing too.
There are always some in every vocation/avocation who
stand out in the field, pun intended. In our society
those people lead in creating new products, methods,
companies, and generally contributing to society in a
positive way. Being 'outstanding' isn't quite as
politically correct as it was some years ago.
Unfortunately our schools have decided independent
thinking doesn't fit into their criteria, and students
are urged to conform or be treated with drugs to slow
them down. Schools tend to lop off the tall poppies.
We reap the benefits in fly fishing with new materials
and methods which are used to make rods, lines, flies,
waders - all sorts of useful things which add to our
enjoyment of fly fishing. There are also those who work
for stream improvement, management of things like the
Great Lakes (which finally came to a really valuable
agreement recently after being in operation since 1985,)
access for all fisherman, protecting fisheries and habitats.
On the other side we have some who think they know
everything and rather insist that all follow their
methods. Which rod, which line, what is a 'proper'
fish or fly - keep in mind it is their opinion, not
necessarily fact. In fact, may not actually have
any basis in fact at all.
What about you? Where do you fit into the tall poppies?
If you are just learning fly fishing, stick with it. It
is not always instant gratification. Sometimes it can be
very frustrating - but the problems are solvable, and the
learning continues forever. Really. It is a journey, not
a destination. The rewards are real, and last a very
Been around fly fishing for a while? What have you
discovered for yourself? What works in your fishery?
Have you worked through problems and found solutions?
Why not share those with others? We have a perfect
place for it - our Readers Cast section. I encourage
to put in writing those things from which others can
benefit. Share the knowledge. (You don't need to be
a great writer, we have an editor who makes sense out
of things and puts your story into good form.)
How about the flies you use? Are you just using the
usual stuff? If you tie, have you adapted or created
flies which work better for you in your situation? Your
flies are just as welcome here on FAOL as any of the
'experts' flies. Some of the flies we have received
from our readers have been truly innovative and productive.
JC and I hope you realize we consider FAOL an information
place - a source for all who choose to come here. From
this source comes personal growth and the ability to ask
questions and get answers without being considered an idiot.
(You may get teased from time to time, but it is not malicious.)
Stand tall, share what you've learned - lead when you can,
follow if you must.
There is room for lots of tall poppies here. ~ 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!