I’m about to say something that some people may have trouble digesting – particularly those fly fishers who, whether knowingly or unknowingly, have put themselves on some kind “fishing pedestal.” Here it is – fly fishing is NOT hard. It’s just not. Sure, to become wholly proficient at the various techniques and to chase numerous species may seem hard. But it isn’t. It takes time to learn, yes. It can be frustrating, yes. But it isn’t hard.
We, as humans, like to overcomplicate things. Well, let me rephrase that. We, as adults, like to overcomplicate things. The fly fishing industry and fly fishermen alike have done an excellent job of creating a high perceived barrier of entry to this activity. As someone who enjoys the simple joys this sport can provide, it drives me crazy.
When you see someone on the river beating the water to a froth and wondering why they aren’t catching fish, remember they are simply learning. Remember when you were learning? Most of us may have forgotten. Exercise a little patience.
In Yvon Chouinard, Craig Matthews and Mauro Mazzo’s book, “Simple Fly Fishing” http://store.mountaineer.com/product_p/tenkarabook.htm, the authors posit that fly fishing has become overcomplicated. I would agree. Whether a Tenkara rod is the way to simplify this, I’m not sure. Nevertheless, I do agree. We are overcomplicating what can be a very humble, simple activity.
Now here’s an idea that is really going to twist some peoples’ tippet. We need more people involved in this sport. Younger people, older people, women. The sport is not lacking in square-headed, middle-aged men…what we need is more diversity and reach in our user base.
When I see my son heading off to hike John’s Brook with a lunch, raincoat, his fly rod and a pair of sandals, I’m psyched. He’s enjoying the process. Putting a line out to wild brook trout on a small mountain stream, he’s stoked. Catching a big bass on his fly rod, he’s stoked.
Maybe that’s what we need more of. Less elitism, less judgment, more patience and more stoke.
Have fun out there anglers…and don’t take yourself or your sport too seriously!