This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

June 10th, 2002

Why Fish-Ins Work

You may think you will never be able to attend one. Perhaps, maybe not. You certainly are welcome to attend any of them, for the whole time or just a day or two. I have given a lot of thought to why these things seem to go so well. For the most part, the only folks who attend are those who enjoy this web site. There are a whole bunch of fly-fishing web sites around these days, but we do seem to be different. Whatever it is that appeals to our readers must appeal to most of them or they would not keep reading us, (much less bring their friends). So, most of us are a lot alike in our views and attitudes of fly fishing.

But it's more than that. If you think about it, we hardly have 'real' conversations these days. We work and discuss work stuff with our fellow workers. When home, we cover the problems, necessities, and watch television. Before TV people visited with others and carried on real conversations. Maybe didn't solve all of the problems of the known world, but they were real conversations. People sharing ideas, comparing methods or problems. The art of conversation still lives. At least at the FAOL Fish-Ins. Last year at the DRC in New York we had a TV in our room and never turned it on.

When we hold a Fish-In, it is the same mix, the readers of FAOL, kind of pre-sorted, mostly all having a common thread (no puns about fly tying here please) which attract us together. To take a bunch of strangers for a few days much less a week on a vacation seems like problems in anyone's book, but for us, it works. We all have similar interests, values and attitudes.

For the last few years we have only had one Fish-In a year. Last year we made the Delaware River Club in New York (DRC) the main place. This year there are (at this time) four of the things. One already has happened. It was in Texas and was such a success they are already scheduling one for next year. We could not attend that one for a variety of reasons, work being the main one. We probably will not be able to get to the one on the White River at Bull Shoals either, in the Ozarks, (October 20-26, 2002). We have always wanted to fish that region, maybe next year.

The western gang is holding one in Lowell, Idaho (Sept 16-22, 2002 ) We will make that one if only for a few days, job thing again. The 'Official' Fish-In at the Delaware River Club, Hancock NY, ( July 22nd thru the 27th, 2002) will be our major trip for the year and we will be there from emergence to spinner fall. (The whole week for you new guys.) The comradery, good conversation, exchange of ideas, learning, and, oh yes, fishing make it a grand time for everyone.

Where will we hold them next year? Well, I know of four places for sure, who knows how many more will be created. Want one in your area? Let us know, perhaps we can help you get it going, really. Just because we are together all year on the web, doesn't mean we can't fish together once in a while somewhere. I don't think the Fish-In will ever replace baseball, but we are growing fast right now, we have had a four hundred percent increase since last year.

So why do Fish-Ins work? Part of it is the adventure of fishing somewhere new, or discovering better places in familiar waters. Sharing those discoveries with friends - new friends we've just connected with the names in the Chat Room or Bulletin Board, and finding they really are as nice as they seem. Tying flies, teaching a method to friends, swapping materials. Comparing successes or failures. It's being part of something larger than ourselves. Got it figured out?

It's the Fraternity of Fly Fishers! ~ LadyFisher

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