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Link: What I wish I knew about fly fishing when I started

By Troutnut on February 13th, 2017, 9:53 am
I was contacted recently by a site called Epic Wilderness with a simple but interesting question for an article they're putting together: What are the 3 most important things you wish you knew when you started fly fishing? I skipped some of the fundamentals I wish I'd known, and instead I gave some tips related to how my scientific research on salmonid feeding behavior has improved my understanding of fly fishing.

You can read my responses and those of 45 other fly fishing writers, fly shop owners/guides, and others were compiled into the Epic Wilderness Fly Fishing Tips Expert Roundup. The site did a nice job putting them together.

I'm curious to see how the other members of the Troutnut forum would have answered that question. What would be the top three things you wish you had learned earlier?

Most recent comments on this post (latest on top)

WiflyfisherFebruary 16th, 2017, 6:59 pm

Posts: 585
When I started at 12 years old many years ago i would say:

1) Confidence in my flies I tied

2) Understanding where trout live and feed

3) Observing instead of just jumping in and start casting

John S.
Jmd123February 14th, 2017, 8:32 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2070
Guys, it's called Bipolar Disorder these days...but I have a better diagnosis:

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

As for addictions, there are much worse ones, trust me, I know. And fly fishing actually works in at least 5 different ways as an antidepressant, by elevating serotonin levels. Safer than LSD and doesn't cause ED like Prozac does...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
PaulRobertsFebruary 14th, 2017, 7:22 am

Posts: 1734

The addictive consequences

Allan, in a city park here there is a big bronze statue of an older fisherman with a youngster sitting on his lap, the two sharing fishing talk. Sweet statue. One day as I passed the statue on my way to fish the ponds there, a mom and her young son were looking at the statue. I was lugging on my back an enormous float tube with rod holders, anchor system, sonar, obsessively organized tackle boxes, and a fistful of rods. I stopped, caught her eye, and said... "Oh man, don't get him started!"
PaulRobertsFebruary 14th, 2017, 7:07 am

Posts: 1734
Hey, Jason, enjoyed your list; Right up my alley.

But... I'm going to go back a ways and think about the beginner. I was involved in a youth FF education program for a bunch of years and this is what I thought was most important to get them off the ground.

1. Casting and control are critical to heading off frustration and getting to the enjoyment. Casting in itself can be a joy. Later it's HUGE in terms of catching fish. I started kids with homemade yarn rods -originally with a goldenrod switch and wetted acrylic yarn. Control tip arc to develop a tight loop and... they are on their way. With a yarn rod you can cast at home, under tables and chairs, and present to the cat. KISS instruction and fun practice time and those budding FF's are ready to rock in no time.

2. Let the fish take them to the next level. Pond bluegills and chasing the stocking truck on put-n-take trout streams are the best teachers. Show them basic line handling and presentation and the fish will do the rest.

3. Get them onto wild stream-bred trout ASAP. This is where FF becomes the intimate game that can take them deep into the natural world. Ecological understandings, so important today as we urbanize and get away from nature, become the focus.

Now, I guess this should be 4 important things, bc you have to have a mentor to take them there, both in terms of knowledge to be passed down and bc... kids can't drive.
FalsiflyFebruary 14th, 2017, 5:32 am
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 648

  • The expence
  • The addictive consequences
  • The high probability of acquiring Manic Depressive Disorder
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."

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