Sometimes fishing is so easy you just can't imagine ever
wondering what you were doing wrong - or why the fish didn't
like your best fly, or did you check to make sure you were
wearing the purple argyle socks last time.
We were on the Upper Yellowstone, barely above Buffalo Ford,
and I was working with our friend Mike's youngest son. The
kid had casting down pretty well, could spot a fish or two and
actually listened. I planted him on a narrow sandbar, parallel
to shore, and pointed out a row of Yellowstone Cutthroats laying
in wait for whatever edibles drifted by. Honest, they were
lined up like critters at the trough - and I believe they even
Once he saw the drift needed he proceeded to make his dad very
proud. He realized early it took a little care and finesse to
catch one cutt without spooking the rest off...and yes, to play
the fish without every other fish in sight leaving for the
remainder of the day.
Mike and I spoke on the phone the other day, and he recalls
that day with as much pleasure as I. The 'youngest son' is a
college boy - growing rapidly into manhood. And wonder of all,
considers himself a fly fisherman. And Mike says, proud of it,
Fishing is hardly predictable, there are just too many variables;
weather, wind, water, hatches or not, all make up a capricious game.
Ah, game you say?
Well we have to call it something, and somehow 'sport' doesn't
seem to make it. Just not right. If you look at fly fishing as
'winning' or 'losing' one needs to ask who we are playing against?
The fish? As in trout 4, LF 0? Not that it ever happens to me.
Sometimes in our enthusiasm to share our love for fly fishing,
which I believe is a perfectly natural thing to do, we over
simplify fly fishing, to make it easier to understand - and to
speed up the catching. I'm sure you've noticed all the books in
our book review section, plus a ton which aren't listed there.
Everything from the use of Wonder Wings, how to catch monster
browns in one hour, to furling your own leaders. Which rather
makes the whole idea of fly fishing a bit more complicated than
Reducing fly fishing to the lowest common denominator, to fish
reasonably well, you only need to be able to cast a fly a short
distance - say 30 feet - tie or buy a fly which resembles whatever
is on the water, tie a few knots and be able to play tug of war
when the fish actually bites the fly. The quality of the gear
really doesn't matter - it is just getting a fish on.
The point here is getting the angler hooked.
If the catching is too easy, and without challenge, the angler
becomes bored. In fact, sport industry research shows the average
participant in most outdoor sports only is involved for a very
short time - five years. Which is barely enough time for anyone
to 'master' a specific sport.
And it would seem the challenges and complexity of fly fishing are
not going to be exhausted in a lifetime. And indeed, doesn't the
fun come from being personally challenged? From solving those
problems and realizing there really is no end to what one can
learn when you are properly challenged - when you are fascinated
by what's difficult.
For most people, they fly fish not because it's easy because it's not.
We just try and convince everyone else it is. ~ The LadyFisher
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