Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Road Less Travelled

Shane on the Metolius

I've expounded on the joys of fly fishing a few times on this blog so please bear with me on this latest.When I think about why I pursue trout and steelhead in this method I seemingly cannot begin to run out of flowery adjectives on why I fish this way. For many years I have pursued what many consider the greatest freshwater game fish that swims and even with conventional casting and spinning gear they were still a worthy adversary.

Shane with Cutthroat Trout - 2007

I learned to drift fish, which is no small feat considering the fact that you are trying to detect the most subtle of takes from a winter steelhead. Consider also that winter steelhead are lethargic at best in the cold water of winter so they would not move very far to take ones offering. I feel that after about a decade of this style of fishing that I had achieved every thing that I could achieve fishing this way so I felt it was on to the next challenge and that is the stalking this magnificent trout with a fly.
To say that I have not accomplished or ever will accomplish everything that there is to accomplish in steelhead fly fishing is a huge understatement. I have had limited success in this endeavour due mostly to the fact that I am, for the most part, self taught and so it's apparent to me that my teacher is a buffoon and woefully inadequate.
In spite of poor training and a myriad of mistakes I push on ward though while some of my friends fill their freezers with hatchery steelhead and tales of legendary trips. Well I've had a few of those trips with casting or spinning gear filled with a plethora of fish and so I'm not all that impressed anymore.
Ah but when it comes to fly fishing then that is different. Fly fishing for steelhead is the big mystery that I've yet to solve. It's the Rubik's cube of all angling pursuits and just when you think you have the whole thing figured out that one red cube shows up amid a field of green and so you must dismantle the whole puzzle to start again.
I've been fortunate of late in that I've become friends with one of the great ones in steelhead fly fishing. I've written about him before and his name is Mike McCune. Mike patiently helps me with my Skagit casting and I know he must get frustrated in my amateurish efforts.

Mike McCune on Coastal River - Winter 2008

So I push forward along this road less travelled and I know as even the legends of this sport know that the end of the road is never in sight. There are too many wonderful and magical side trips to take along the way. The joy of fly fishing is just that...pure joy. I cannot ever recall being unhappy while on the river casting a fly well except for when it is time to go home. I cannot say the same thing about other angling methods I have pursued.
I do not want to come off as elitist either but for me this is the best path and only path for me and it's the path that I will follow until the end of my days.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I don't think it sounded elitest at all--just the opposite. Sounds like a good reason to pursue steelhead with a fly.