If I’ve figured out one thing over the last couple of years, it’s that fly fishing is a process and a progression that is complex to say the least. But it is in it’s complexity that I find I am both frustrated and fascinated.
Here is what I see when watching other fly fishermen…with an effortless cast of the fly rod the fly lands gracefully in the water. They strategically strip in line, the fish gobbles the fly and they set the hook. Methodically they work the fish into the net, carefully removing the hook from the fishes mouth and releasing it back into the water to be caught another day. Easy as that right?? Not so easy in actuality. For a newbie, like myself, I feel it’s more like this…. Standing on the boat with the wind blowing at me, with all my might I give the fly rod my best effort and intentions and watch my fly line tangle as it blows straight back at me. Fearing for my life I do the most instinctual thing possible, close my eyes and throw an arm up to protect myself from the incoming fly. After a 5-10 minute untangling session I toss my line back into the wind and get lucky. My fly plops onto the water like a weighted rock. I quickly try to gather the line to tuck under my finger, all the while my rod tip is pointing somewhere towards the sun. I quickly point it down towards the water and by this time my line has sunk to the bottom and the whooper I think I have hooked is actually the bottom of the river. With a few tugs and messy attempts at a roll cast, the boat is motored towards my fly. Once released from bottom I strip in my line and start the process all over again. This time hitting my back with my fly as I cast it and then it somehow lands way to the left of where I wanted it. At this point I’m looking a little more like a hot mess than a fly fisherman and hoping like hell no one is watching. Or even worse, taking a video for all to see on YouTube. Finally after some fine tuning and maybe a few tears of frustration I get the fly in the water close to where it should be and I actually get a fish on! I set the hook, lift my rod tip and somehow manage to get the fish to the awaiting net. Phew! Just like that, effortless, peaceful and serene…Good grief, are you kidding me? That was a lot of work and frustrating and hard!! There certainly should be wine involve somehow! How do they make it look so easy, effortless and FUN??
There are so many things you need to figure out and know. It’s not like spin fishing where you simply pick up a fishing pole, put a worm on the hook and throw it out as far as you can and wait for the bobber to go under. It’s way more than that. It’s casting, striping in line, how to hold the line, which fly to choose, hatches, bugs, how to fight the fish, which weight rod to use, what reel , what line…..the list goes on and on. And if that wasn’t enough they start throwing things at you like dry flies, top water, nymphing. What the? I find this to all be a little overwhelming. Yet I want more. More time on the water, more fish, more time to tie flies, more knowledge.
So I have come to the conclusion that all of these things will come with time and experience. I won’t possibly learn it all in a season or two. I’ll have to tackle them one at a time. Fly selection and entomology are a work in progress. Rod, line and reel selection will come and as far as the terminology goes, I’m getting there. I’ve been know to mispronounced and misuse a term on occasion. I’m always good for a laugh or two.
Whether you’re new to fly fishing or an experienced fisherman, I hope you enjoy my stories. Stop back by for my next newbie adventure. I’m off to tie me some flies. Oh who am I fooling, I’m off to have a glass of wine! Stac