I was recently reading one of the more popular northwest fishing forums where the topic of discussion was "What makes a good fisherman".
Well as you might guess it quickly deteroriated in the typical testosterone charged chest pounding debate that this question always seems to incite.
So what does make one an expert fly angler?
I suppose catching a lot of fish might be a big determining factor. After all we "hunter-gatherers" need to kill something in order to prove our worth don't we?
While we fly fishers mostly release our catch but it is still a numbers game isn't it?
Then there is casting proficiency. That certainly must be the mark of an expert fly angler right? Well I'll tell you folks something. I can single hand cast quite well and if that were the mark of an expert fly fisher then I certainly would qualify wouldn't I? Hardly!
I firmly believe and expert fly fisherman is one who is contented at where his angling life has taken him or her.
Sure it's nice to catch a fish now and again and those magic days of big or numerous fish are certainly nice. It's also great to be able to lay out a nice cast and see every thing fall into place perfectly as your dry kisses the surface so delicately that the trout must certainly be in awe of your casting mastery much like a music lover would appreciate a maestro expertly conducting an orchestra.
I also think that an expert fly angler is one who loves the fish and the river. He cares deeply about them and is hurts when they are hurt and misused.
It's not a matter of how skilled you are that makes you an expert in this piscatorial pursuit of ours. It's a matter of where you are in your fly fishing journey that really matters. So if you catch a lot of fish well good for you! Maybe you can turn me on to a few of your best fishing spots!
If you have dozens of pictures of you holding up fish with your fly rod clinched in your teeth then bravo!
I can only speak for myself but I am much more impressed at someone who sacrifices for his resource...that is an expert in my eyes!