Outdoor Writers Association of America
Northwest Outdoor Writers Association
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

May 17th, 1999


fraternity: 1. The state or quality of being brothers; fraternal relationship or spirit; brotherliness 2. A group of men (or, rarely, women) joined together by common interests, for fellowship, etc; specif., a Greek-letter college organization 3. a group of people with the same beliefs, interests, work, etc. (the medical fraternity.)

Pick any or all of the above, your choice. This is what this website is all about. It is the essence of fly fishing. It is what existed some 20 years ago, for the most part what local fly fishing organizations were formed for, and what many have stopped doing.

There are exceptions to that of course, some of our readers talk about wonderful fly tying groups, cane rod making, trips to local streams as a group outings, and programs getting kids involved in the outdoors (not just fly fishing.)

My daughter (Chat Host TN) attended one of these kids "do's" this weekend - the women's group, Golden West Women's Flyfishers had the release of the 'tadpole to frogs project' which it sponsors for local kids. No it's not fly fishing, but it's getting kids aware of their surrounding and having a hands-on experience outdoors. Hurrah for the gals!

Somehow being a fly fisher is about sharing. Maybe it's like having something so wonderful happen that you just can't wait to tell somebody. Or at least I like to think it is.

We get stories, articles, flies, jokes, poems - all sorts of goodies from our readers. ( Please know you are welcome to contribute material to this site as well, but not required to be a member of the fraternity tho.)

If the word 'fraternity" some how doesn't ring true, let me remind you no other fraternity in the world has a tougher 'hazing' than fly fishing. None has the life-long learning curve either. And none - including the most prestigious Greek society - will have the friendships hewn over fish and flies which last until we die. And some beyond.

Over the years we have had many acquaintances. Some through our former business, others from places we have lived. None have been as warm or meaningful as the true friendships we made through fly fishing. People we do not see except every few years when the budget allows are still our friends. We pick up conversations as though we had been chatting with them yesterday.

If they hit my front door now unannounced, I would make sure the coffee was hot and fresh and check to see how much of a disaster the guest room was. They would do the same for us.

What is even more amazing is I know for a fact that we would be welcome in the homes of many who are part of Fly Anglers OnLine whom we have only met via this website. We have been invited to their homes, (and hopefully will even get there.) They have invited us to share their favorite piece of water! Not a small thing - indeed a real honor.

This is part of the reason JC and I are so looking forward to the FAOL Summer Fish-In. It is an opportunity to get to meet in person people we have not seen. We have spoken with some on the phone, and had email correspondence with others; but it is so neat to be able to put faces with names, and have a real handshake (or hug)! Campfire conversation will be interesting.

All of us who fly fish are blessed to have the opportunity to share our passion for fly fishing with others. And to really belong. It is the common frame of reference that brings us together. Like-minded, sharing a common interest. Or, fraternity!

There are no cliques here, everyone is welcome at FAOL. If some in the fly fishing world wish to see themselves some other way that is their loss. We are all members of the fly fishing fraternity - the nicest group of people anywhere.

And I for one am very grateful. ~ 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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