On The Fly: A fly fishers progression
On The Fly
Every angler goes through progressions. There’s a saying in fishing that at first all you want to do is simply catch a fish. This is often much harder than it sounds. When I was growing up, neither of my parents fished. I learned how to fish by reading books from the masters of the sport. Writers Dave Whitlock, Vince Marinaro, Randall Kaufmann, Lefty Kreh and Ernest Schweibert filled my nightstand. When I lived in Denver, every Wednesday I would run outside to the curb before school to pick up The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News newspapers. I read poignant articles on Colorado fishing from Charlie Meyers and Ed Dentry. Magazines like In-Fisherman, Outdoor Life and Field & Stream were read cover to cover and digested quickly within an hour or two. Saturday mornings were spent soaking in the visuals and knowledge handed down from televised fishing shows featuring icons like Walkers Cay Chronicles with Flip Pallot and The Hunt for Big Fish with Larry Dahlberg.
There’s something to be said by figuring things out by yourself. It taught me patience and persistence more than anything; virtues that I feel are in great decline in this day and age of instant gratification.
Eventually things begin to click a little bit and you start catching a fish or two. Naturally, part of your progression in fly fishing is that you will eventually want to catch a lot of fish, and then a big fish. Not long after that you’ll want to catch lots of big fish. Finally, you’ll come to the point where you just want to catch fish by how you want to catch the fish. The last stage, I’m told, is that you want to catch the impossible fish. Some even go so far as to regress to the point that you just want to watch the fish and are satisfied just sharing space with them.
For many years, I was “that” guy that had fishing stickers, rod vaults and logos plastered all over my car, house, and seemingly everything that I owned. I wanted everyone to know that I’m a fly fisherman. As my own progressions continue to shift, I have now gone back to “flying under the radar.” My truck is no longer tattooed with fishing stickers and rod vaults. In fact, I have even regressed to the point where I suspended my Facebook page a few years ago after being inundated with “look at me” fishing pictures from people I didn’t really know.
I’m no longer that kid that wants to catch every fish in the river. I’m slowing down, aging and progressing. I’d like to think that I’m becoming a wiser angler, and I’m OK with that. I still fish with those younger 20 and 30 somethings, but know I see my younger self in them, in their own fishing progressions. As Henry David Thoreau would say, “Many men go fishing all their lives without realizing that it is not fish they are after.” I wonder where my fishing progressions will take me in 2016?
This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at (970) 927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.
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