Saturday, September 12, 2009
Paying Homage to Fly Fishing Tradition
I've fly fished for about 35 years and along the way I have some idea about what the traditions of this piscatorial endeavour are and I even have my own.
Fly fishing is rife with tradition probably more than any other type of sports angling and it appears that those traditions are no longer revered as they once were.
I have an annual tradition of making sure I fish the last day of the coastal trout season. It's like I want to say goodbye to the river and the fish that provided me with so much happiness during the five month season. It's important for me to do that and I always fish alone on that day.
I also make sure that, on that final day, I use one of my Hoffman bamboo rods. I suppose if I could I would find some tweeds to dress in.
I think the sound that a Hardy reel makes while a running fish takes out line is music to us traditionalists. There is really nothing like it and it is unique in the way the sound the engine of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle makes that is like no other motorcycle.
My other traditions include a three day trip to the Deschutes for the annual salmon fly extravaganza.
I think we lose out when traditions of this gentle of all angling sports are dismissed and forgotten. With all the bells and whistles available to the new fly fisher who wants to catch a lot of fish immediately tradition get swept aside.
I suppose I am sounding like an old guy but the "young guns" trout bums of today pay no homage to all the great fly fishers from the past and that is too bad.
Us old guys can't helicopter into a remote trout or steelhead stream because, like myself, we cannot afford it or are not physically able to.
Maybe those remote streams should be left alone! How is that for a new tradition?
I always thought that it is traditional and ethical to treat the fish you are about to release with the utmost care! Shouldn't the safety of the fish take precedent over your hero picture?
Anyway in a sports so full of rich traditions I try to embrace as many as I can. I suppose if I could actually get some tweeds to fir my large carcass I would probably wear them.
I would probably get a few second glances but at this stage of my life who really cares what others think.
So while the music of Beethoven or Mozart are most pleasing to those classical music loves ears for me the sound of a Hardy fly reel paying out line or the crisp "pop" of the ferrules on my bamboo rod as I take it apart are music to my ear in the fly fishing concert of mine.
Take the time to slow down and drink in all the rich traditions of fly fishing. Remember this is not a blood sport and in fact many of us gave up that type of angling for something gentler and more traditional.