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Part One hundred eighty-seven

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Fly Fishing IS For Everyone


By Johnny (aka Hillfisher), Texas

After reading Al's article about beginners prices and fly shop personnel, it really got me to thinking about the same thing I went through with all the people I have taught this last year. I get a lot of questions at work from people about my fly fishing. When I go into the lengthy descriptions of the river scenery, the quite solitude and of course the fish, they become quite interested. When they see the equipment and the flies and I explain to them that it is an art and one not difficult to learn, quite a few wish to learn. However no true commitments are made. After some time passes I would ask them if they were still interested. Each time the response has been the similar. "I can not afford this kind of fishing!" or "I can not justify the expenditures compared to my present form of fishing." This is from all walks of life, whether it be struggling collage students up to corporate directors. This is where I find out they went out on their own to one of the local fly shops and looked at what they had to offer. Most would walk out with that "deer in the headlights" look, in financial shock.

For those who are on the "No Budget," fly shop prices are unobtainable. The "No budget" you ask? It's mostly for us married guys. It goes something like this.

"Honey, can I have…"


"but . . ."


That's the "No Budget." Very effective for the budget, lousy for the fishing.

However there are alternatives that are very affordable for the average angler. Whenever I encounter individuals who want to learn fly fishing but have found the prices too much to justify or afford, I take them online and introduce them to the FAOL Sponsor page. For most people this gets things back into perspective and we get more people into the fly fishing sport.

As Al pointed out there are two different philosophies to consider when dealing with beginning fly fishermen. Some people will only buy the most pricey stuff as they believe the cost determines the quality. I have a friend who whole heartedly believes this. The local fly shops love him. Others are cost conscience and will by necessity, sacrifice some quality, "to get a foot in the door," just to try the sport. But then again are they really sacrificing quality? A given rod manufacture will produces the same rods for various "distributors," only changing the name printed on the blank. The distributors determine the price for resale. I wonder just how much more business a single fly shop would produce if they truly had a beginners section with low cost quality combos to offer.

Most people never just walk into a fly shop out of curiosity. In fact most don't even know we have three here in the Austin (Texas) area. Most don't even know that fly fishing is even a viable and exciting sport here in the south. I feel that those of us who are in the sport owe it to introduce new fly fishers in a way they can afford. I also believe in practicing in what we preach. All my equipment with the exception of the vest and waders are low to mid-range rods and reels. I started with a low end combo and I still use it for demonstrations and pan fishing around the house. Their performance and durability has proven their worth over the years. Each of the people whom I have taught this past year have started with around $100.00 combos and are performing and catching as well as the person who starts with the $1000.00 setup. Eventually they'll probably move up to more expensive and better performing equipment, most do, but we all have the memories of the first rod and reel which lead us down the path to the wonderful world of fly fishing.

I believe we are emissaries not for just a sport, but a way of life to preserve and pass on to the next generation . . .in an affordable way. ~ Johnny, AKA Hillfisher

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