Since the fifteenth century, every nuance of fly fishing has been written about in the utmost detail, leaving us to endlessly reinvent what has already been discovered. A tiny change on a classic fly and the 'inventor" gets to name it after himself and collect a dime for each one sold. Many of the books on technique are like business books where a minor theory is spread out over three hundred pages, when all it really merits is a magazine article.
Heaven knows we fly fishers are suckers for every new gizmo we think will give us a leg up on catching fish. We wear vests with twenty pockets and waders with even more storage. And as if that isn't enough, we have lanyards, waist packs, and backpacks to carry even more impedimenta. Hundreds of fly lines are now available to us, yet I seriously doubt you will catch one more trout with a line fine-tuned to the conditions than with a classic double taper. The no-nonsense fly fisher Rob Brown, from Terrace, British Columbia, looking over a steelheader's array of fly boxes filled with hundreds of garish flies, said it best when he asked, "When did the green-butt stop working for you?"
I would offer that this proliferation of gear is supported by busy people who lack for nothing in their lives except time. Our "time-saving" communication devices, like tablets and smartphones, make slaves of their owners. We are unwilling, or unable, to put in the 10,000 hours needed to become a master fisher, hunter, or mountain climber. Instead, we load up with all the latest stuff and hire guides to do everything for us - including tying on the fly and releasing the fish. The guides have become enablers rather than teachers. How many bonefish would average anglers catch if they had to work out the tides and wade and spot fish themselves instead of waiting for a guide to bark, "ten o'clock, forty-foot cast now! Wait . . . strip . . . strip"? The guides leave clients so unsure of themselves that they think there must be some secret, unattainable knowledge that only the guide possesses.
As author Sheridan Anderson says in The Curtis Creek Manifesto, the objective of fishing is to catch fish, but in the pursuit of the catch you will gain so much more. The higher purpose of practicing a sport such as fly fishing, hunting or mountain climbing is to affect a spiritual and physical gain. But if the process is compromised, there is no transformation.
- The Day I Learned to Kayak
- THE TENKARA ROD
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