On the Fly column: Remembering when fly fishing was on the fringe
February 12, 2019
Your parents or grandparents picked up this sport when it truly was on the fringe, if they got in the game early. Fly fishing has grown into a "huge" industry, but back then, finding information, great gear and quality fly tying materials was hard. These days there are thousands of fly patterns, a myriad of rod and reel companies, and when you want to learn a new technique or find out what the fishing is like in practically any location worldwide, real-time information is only a mouse click away.
I imagine it was pretty tough "back then." Today we can check the stream flows from our computer or smart phone; back then you found out what was happening when you got there. Imagine spending hours on the road getting to a trout destination, only to find out the river was blowing out or the road closed. Major bummer. Back then when you broke your fly rod, you were pretty much screwed. These days, a fully warrantied replacement can be in the mail the same day you broke it.
Obviously, there is much romance associated with fishing yesteryear. I don't know a single fly fisher who wouldn't jump at the chance to fish the Fryingpan in 1975 or throw flies at tarpon with a young Ted Williams. We all imagine empty rivers and saltwater flats with uneducated fish. The stuff of dreams. These days, it can get a bit cutthroat out there. Ask any Fryingpan, North Platte or Keys guide.
We are truly blessed these days with the wealth of information available to us. Do you want to tie the best flies for bonefish at Andros? There are 30 websites dedicated to just that. Which fly line will match your rod and casting abilities? What is the flow on the Deschutes River? Vest or chest pack? How many hours does it take to float from Carbondale to Westbank? Back then, you figured it out. Nowadays, it's just a click away. Does this make us soft compared to the pioneers of this sport? Probably, but I'll take it.
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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