Friday, October 30, 2009
I Am A Fly Fisherman
What I am trying to say is just this. I fly fish and only fly fish.Winter or summer it's fly fishing only for me. I don't use bait or spinners or jigs any longer. I am not an elitist in the sense that I look down my nose who do not follow the same angling path as I do because you must remember that it's that fraternity of anglers that I evolved from.
When I fish I don't take a spinning rod along just in case I can't hook anything with a fly. I used to do that until someone somewhere said "Shane, you'll never grow as a fly fisherman until you give yourself wholly to fly fishing" and he was right of course. I spent a lot of years chasing salmon and steelhead with bait, drift gear and the like and I caught a lot of fish in all sizes and had my share of days where I caught my daily limit. It was a grand time too and I look back on those days with a great deal of affection.
I pretty much did all I could do with gear amd bait here in Oregon and Washington and really had nothing to prove any longer. I had dabbled with fly fishing and in fact it was my summer time angling method and the only way I would fish for trout.
Winter steelhead and fall chinook however were strictly pursued with bait or other hardware.
Long story short I found myself not enjoying that rat race any longer. DDriving to the Wilson anxious about whether my favorite run would be occupied.
So one day I laid aside the drift bobbers, jigs and pencil lead forever. My catch rate, of course, went from filled hatchery tags to near nothing and my family, who had gotten used to fresh salmon and steelhead for dinner were left wanting.
In my angling life it was the best decision I ever made.
There is nothing more inspiring to me as a trout rising to a dry fly or a steelhead's first frantic run downstream as my Hardy reel screams in protest.
Do we fly fishermen have a monopoly on angling contentment? Not hardly! Some still approach it as some kind of ego inflating blood sport. For me it's a way to feel young again in this old body. I find myself looking at everything around me in a much different way like walking along a coastal river bank hoping to find a nice piece of quartz or a nice agate.I hope one day to maybe find a native American arrowhead. You notice the life along the shore more than you did when all you were interested in was getting your lead just right in order to get a good drift.
When I fish my favorite trout hang outs I almost instantly notice any subtle difference with it or the area around it.
I never did before! I had fun back then but it was the kind of fun born out of success and that success was measured by the number of fish I hooked.
Some of my most memorable trips in the years since I became "fly only" have been fish less.
There was one trip to the Wilson river while fishing another favorite run that I was serenaded by a bull elk bugling just across the river. The encounters with otter, eagles and bobcats will forever live in my memory.
When I fish with gear I never had to to look around and take notice of a beautiful flower or a water ouzel tying to make a living along the waterline.
So I can say when asked "Are you a fisherman?" I say "Yes, a fly fisherman"