Welcome to Panfish

Part Thirty-one

The Neophyte's Question

By Randy Fratzke

A week or so back we had a new guest in the Chat Room. I was host. There were probably 4 or 5 guests at the time. The person identified himself as "someone who really wanted to get into fly fishing" and then the big question, "what should I buy?" At first there was a lagging silence in the room. Then, as if it sunk in to all of us at the same time, we realized that this guy wasn't a "neophyte", he was a "pre-neophyte". We all started cautiously asking questions, such as , "How much do you know about fly fishing?", "What type of fishing do you do now?", "Where do you live?", and "What type of fish do you want to catch?", and of course, "How much money are you willing to spend to 'get into' fly fishing?"

As to "how much are you willing to spend", he responded I guess the same way I would have..."Why? What do you mean? Is it real expensive, or what?" The remaining guest (note the lack of an "s" at the end of that word...) and I explained that a person could spend anywhere from $50.00 to $5,000 (or more) on fly fishing equipment, depending on how far he really wanted to "get into it". We explained the definition of rod weights, and how to match the reel and line to the rod, depending on what type of fishing your doing. And the different types of lines, and leaders, and tippets (That the articles he'd read had failed to mention there was more than one type or weight of fly rod). He asked about waders and cleated soles and felt soles (he saw an ad comparing the two) and "something called float tubes". He asked about flies, and where to get them and which ones to use and how to use them. Wow, talk about a challenging conversation!

After a while he said that he was almost confused by all of the information and questions. He asked what we recommended... I recommended three things:
1.) go to the library or a book store and read up a little on fly fishing. Learn a little more about the sport and all of the equipment, techniques, and terms involved with the sport.
2.) keep coming to the online site (he'd found it by accident on an search inquiry) and talking with the people here. Let them know your new to the sport and have lots of questions. I assured him (and I sincerely believe it's true) that we have some of the most knowledgeable and helpful people in the sport at our site.
3.) Find a good, local source to purchase his equipment at. A place where he felt comfortable going into, where the proprietor was looking after his interests, not just his wallet, and he could try rod and reel combinations out until he felt comfortable with one (and one in a price range he could afford!).

He thanked us for all of the help and left. He's been back several times now. I smile when I see him come into the room. He's becoming more knowledgeable each visit. He's purchased a good beginners setup from a local shop and has started fly fishing. He's already caught trout and bass and seems to really be enthusiastic about the sport. His latest questions were about fly tying... He wants to "get into tying flies." I'm sure one of these days we'll go through the whole aspect of that part of the sport also. I look forward to it.

I know the arguments about "the more popular the sport becomes the more crowded the streams become and the more pressure put on the fish." But on the other hand, the more popular the sport becomes, the more pressure we can put on the government to allocate money help clean up the streams and keep them clean, and provide more breeding stock, and provide better access to handicapped anglers, and countless other programs. So the next time a newbie comes into the chat room, instead of leaving, join in and help out with the questions and answers.

Who knows, maybe the new person could turn into your next convert or fishing partner! ~ Randy Fratzke

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