Outdoor Writers Association of America
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

September 11th, 2000

Magic Pill?

"Girls like to watch sunsets, listen to little birds chirp and smell flowers; boys like to watch things blow up, yet they both find pleasure in fly fishing. Odd." jc

Why is it we rush through life like it was our last chance at it? Why not take our time and enjoy it slowly? No, we must get it all now, learn it fast, never wait until tomorrow. Whatever it is we wish or need, it must be immediate. So it seems to be for some with fly fishing.

If I could offer you a 'magic pill' that would make you an expert fly fisher right now, would you take it? Would you think about taking it? What would happen if you did? What would you gain if you did, and what would you lose if you did?

Taking the pill may be a bit like going for a drive with no destination in mind, but doing it at ninety miles an hour. When the trip is it's own reward, why hurry?

If I told you right here and now that in the next paragraph was the name and description of a new fly - one which would replace every fly you have - never again would you need to choose a nymph, wet, dry or streamer. You could throw away all your flies and just use this one on everything everywhere. It would out-fish all other flies. Would you read on or perhaps decide not to go any further?

How about the 'perfect' fly rod? Never again would you need to own more than one rod. This one rod will cast all lines perfectly and effortlessly. (Let's make it sell for under a hundred bucks while we're at it) I think you understand. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.

I can think of one exception to that, and it only happened once. Fishing Armstrong Spring Creek in Montana there were so many fish rising I couldn't decide which to cast to first. Too many fish?

The enigma is that no matter how hard anyone of us tries, we can not go too fast. At least not at learning fly fishing. We each go at our own pace, just the right speed to satisfy each of our own needs and desires. The pace may change at times as we learn things, but it will always be our own.

Some have mentioned that we all have a different 'learning curve.' That may be, but if we do, it is by choice, not chance. I see it in casting classes and tying classes. Each goes at their own pace regardless of the material offered. Each at the speed to fulfill their desires. This drives some of us to practice casting hours on end and others to avoid practice like a plague. Others will become production fly tiers and some will create a new fly with every hook mounted. Some will labor endlessly on leader formulas for the perfect presentation, some use ten pound mono. Who is right and who is wrong?

Neither of course.

For some to take the 'magic pill' would take them to exactly the point they wish to be. To avoid all of the trial and error of the mundane step-by-step pieces of information and experience necessary to become proficient. Yet, those very elements may be the journey to be savored by their counter-parts.

So for those of you wishing for a 'magic pill,' sorry there isn't one.

But, just be aware of the situation. The choice is yours. Go fast or go slow. Make sure it is by choice, not by chance. Far too many things in life happen by chance, make sure your love of fly fishing is not one of them. ~ LadyFisher

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