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> > What keeps you Flyfishing?

Troutbum13September 17th, 2008, 5:36 am

Posts: 7
Just wanted to know what keeps people fishing the fly? Is it the thrill of catching or the challenge of trying to catch? Is it the fact that most good trout streams are in some pretty pristine surroundings? Let me know what it is about this great sport that keeps you wetting your fly!
SofthackleSeptember 17th, 2008, 6:57 am
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
This is a great question. For me it is many things. It is refreshing to me in many aspects. I really like being outdoors, especially next to flowing water, so that is a start. I like the idea of catching fish on something I myself have made-my flies-and the idea that I can let it go. Guess that gets me closer to the natural world, too. I enjoy talking with others that enjoy the same things, and generally fly fishermen and fisher-women are great people and the exchange of ideas is stimulating.I enjoy sharing with others. It is a total immersion in the experience of it all leading to the discovery and re-discovery of myself.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
RleePSeptember 17th, 2008, 7:17 am
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
Everything that Mark said plus if I exercise a little self-restraint when I'm in the fly shops, it turns out overall to be a little cheaper than psychotherapy...:)
Chris_3gSeptember 17th, 2008, 7:59 am
Posts: 59I guess the fly-fishing solution I've converged on in the past two years of extensive research, i.e. fishing...a lot, is that I truly enjoy fly-fishing on small streams for wild trout, even if the fishing is better and the fish are bigger down the street. The core reason I've converged on that solution, I believe, is that I'm a solitude junkie. I feel completely at peace when I'm buried in the woods, next to flowing water, with no one around; put a fly rod in my hand, and there's nowhere else I would rather be.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the exhilaration of hooking into a big old lake-run trout, salmon, or (God forbid) small mouth bass, and I do fish stocked streams throughout the season. When it comes down to it, I just like to fish, period, but my heart lies in complete solitude next to wild water.

FreepowSeptember 17th, 2008, 8:06 am
menomonie, WI

Posts: 83
I think Robert Traver said it best...

Beyond that, I fish because I feel like I am connecting with the part of life that fulfills me spiritually. Fly fishing has taught me to pay attention to the most minuscule of things that I so often passed on during my youth. It has showed me how to watch nature in its complex operations, things I never would have seen if I were just passing by. It has slowed me down and made me patient. If it has given me this so far, why would I stop? What else will it teach me that I have not yet learned? Plus, its just plain ole' fun darnit.
"I fish...because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don't want to waste the trip..."
TrtklrSeptember 17th, 2008, 11:54 am

Posts: 115
simply put, sensory overload.
I have seen nothing more beautiful than the sunrise on a cold stream.
SlateDrake9September 17th, 2008, 3:17 pm
Potter County, PA

Posts: 144
I have found out over the years that trout slime is very good for my mental health.
Fishing with bait is like swearing in church.
-- Slate Drake
FlybyknightSeptember 17th, 2008, 4:02 pm
Milton, DE

Posts: 82
What keeps me fly fishing?
Be one with nature,
Get away from all the trials and tribulations of
trying to make a living.
Swap outrageous lies with closest and dearest friends.
Help newbies learn to cast.
BTW, I can cast a nymph into a tea cup at 40 feet.

Lightly on the dimpling eddy fling;
the hypocritic fly's unruffled wing.
Thomas Scott
TroutnutSeptember 17th, 2008, 5:34 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
For me I think it's the depth of the sport. I enjoy practically everything about it, but I could say the same thing for spin-fishing and hunting, too, but of which I do but not often compared to fly fishing. What really keeps me fly fishing is that there's always a puzzle... fly design, fly selection, choosing an intended presentation, and making the fly actually do what you want it to over a complex current. That's what makes it more addicting than other ways to enjoy the outdoors.

Two other benefits:

* Unlike most other fishing, you usually know where the trout are. Either they're rising, or you can see them, or you can read the water and predict where they'll be. I like that. The stalk and catch is the trick, and you're not wondering if the quarry is even there.

* There are more emotional highs, especially suspense, than in other fishing. It's the excitement of watching a big trout inspect a fly and wondering if it'll take... or even the excitement of that first perfect drift over a prime-looking spot, anticipating the strike.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
MartinlfSeptember 17th, 2008, 6:27 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
An intense focus on figuring out what will work often blocks out my appreciation of the beauty around me, but when I slow down and take it all in, the combination of being out in the woods, as Chris said, along with with solving the puzzle of what will work that Jason describes, have been the main things that have kept me fishing for many years.

More recently, I've found another benefit, that, although it may not be the thing that has kept me flyfishing in the past, has certainly deepened the experience in the last few years. That benefit is learning from folks on this site and having the privilege of fishing with some of them. One, and he'll know who he is, is almost single-handedly responsible for the great season I had, partly for sharing the amazing cicada fishing we had on the Little J, but mostly for putting up with my bad jokes and general lack of organization before and after fishing outings. Another shared knowledge of his home stream with me and made it my new favorite late season water, when I can get out for Tricos. Then there's the fellow who, after we went out for the Iso hatch, sent me his secret nymph patterns and some critical hatch information on a stream we both love. And I can't leave out that guy who showed up for the little J sulphur spinner fall, and has so far kept the location of our fishing spot mum, despite threats of torture from Jack Bauer. Finally, the bugmeister with his big beetles and tiny scuds who has changed the way I tie and fish forever. Not to mention all the guys who I have yet to meet on the stream. I guess now, if I were to fall away, they'd bring me back for sure.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GONZOSeptember 17th, 2008, 8:54 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
As a youngster coming of age in the crazy '60s, I sought sanity and serenity in trout streams. Throughout my life, even in the darkest times, trout streams stimulated me and soothed me. Now, as I look back on the blessings of a fly-fisher's life, I hope that others, perhaps troubled by the tumult of a new century, will find peace and joy in these same waters. I know that discovering the endless mystery and great beauty to be found in slimy fish and icky bugs has enriched my life--forever.
FalsiflySeptember 18th, 2008, 1:56 pm
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 661
I believe it was the summer of 1960 when I first held a fly rod in my hand. With my father at my side I learned the basic cast, the figure eight hand retrieve and how to detect the subtle take of still water trout. Although Dad was not an avid fly fisherman (his passion was the muskie and walleye) the fundamentals were taught and devoured. My summers were spent with my best friend, the boy next door, fishing for stocked trout in a series of spring feed ponds in an area aptly named Trout Valley. My buddy’s dad however was an avid fly fisherman, I could tell, he had all the neat stuff. It was from him that I learned about silk lines, cat gut leaders, the difference between wet and dry flies, and the names of the rudimentary fly ware. Armed with my Shakespeare rod, automatic reel, level line and leader, I fished the next two summers. It was during this time that I experienced my first hatch and feeding frenzy. At the time I had no clue as to what was going on, I only knew that the trout were splashing, the air was filled with weird bugs, and I couldn’t catch a fish. I think this was my first lesson in exasperation. Oh, how I wanted to and how hard I tried. It wasn’t until years latter that I learned about rising trout and emerging mayflies. Many years in fact.

We moved out of Trout Valley and a strange mental metamorphosis took over. All my thoughts were consumed by one thought and one thought only, girls. I might add that the jury is still out on whether those years were spent for the better or for the worse. I met my high school sweetheart and she was forced to leave me because her family moved to Littleton Colorado. Not long after I threw everything I owned, which wasn’t much more than a bag of clothes and a couple hundred bucks, into the back of a friends car and headed cross country in hot pursuit. It was in Colorado that I got my education, got married and started a family. I spent the next ten years in heaven; I was playing with airplanes during the work week and fly fishing the Colorado Rockies on weekends. Oh, what a difference from the trout ponds in Illinois.

But the new beginning was fought with the most meager equipment, and I was clueless in my fast water surroundings. The only way I could catch a trout was with a spinning rod or a streamer on the fly rod. By now I had acquired and read numerous books on fly fishing and was familiar with the life cycle of the major aquatic insects. But this nymphing technique was past hence unknown to me. I think I read somewhere that 90% of a trout’s diet consists of nymphs. I figured 90% was pretty good odds, so a nymphing I did go. Actually, things started out quite slow but I made enough mistakes to catch a few. Once I learned to put together the similarities of those mistakes catching became catching. I don’t remember where it was or even when it was but I certainly remember that it was. The was was when it all came together. From that moment on I became a trout fisherman, at peace with myself and my surroundings. Funny thing though; when I leave the water the magic and the peace disappear, but when I return to the water I find that it is always there waiting for me. Yes I……I think that is what keeps me fly fishing.
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."
Troutbum13September 18th, 2008, 2:08 pm

Posts: 7
Well, I'm glad I asked the question! What great stories! Thanks for sharing your great memories of fishing the fly!
Al514September 18th, 2008, 5:58 pm
Central New York

Posts: 142
This summer I was lucky enough to fish every day but 2 (travel reasons). My wading boots didn't dry out once. From the 15th of May, all the way until August 22nd, I was on water somewhere trying to catch something with a fly. Throughout the summer, my parents would always say - "Take a break, you're going to get burned out." I never did though. The things that keep me going are endless - being first on a stream in the morning, strip strikes, rigging up, the double haul, streams smaller than a car loaded with Brook Trout, trying to catch bugs, landing a lunker alone, the opposite bank, snouts, nymphing, "God save the Queen", plunge pools, bow and arrow casts, the Delaware Browns, the knots, tying the night before an outing - I could go on and on. The one thing that really kept me going was having that line tighten up and that rod bent, in surroundings people couldn't dream up any better.

GrannomSeptember 18th, 2008, 6:05 pm
Northwest PA

Posts: 87
I don't have a romantic story to explain why I fly fish. I just can't stop.
"Be calm - you're there..." "...Tell yourself there's no rush, even if there is."

-John Gierach
MartinlfSeptember 18th, 2008, 6:42 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233

Yours is my favorite response so far.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Aaron7_8September 21st, 2008, 10:34 am
Helena Montana

Posts: 115
I grew up in eastern washington and fished with my best friend on a creek ,armed with a can of worms, behind my house everyday of my summers between the ages of 6 and 10(and many days not in the summer). It brought me joy then and joy now and now that I live in Montana fly fihshing is what we do here.
MartinlfSeptember 21st, 2008, 10:47 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
I remember hand fishing for panfish with homemade hooks and found string out in the woods as a kid, along with many other times using more sophisticated gear, always using whatever bait was on hand. It always brought a thrill. I can't imagine not being able to look forward to a day--or an hour--on the water, now with wand and flies. Among with a few other very elemental things, I realize it's what I live for.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
CaseyPSeptember 21st, 2008, 3:22 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
fly fishing and baseball share a totally deceptive simplicity; that's why they can both be lifelong pursuits.

fly fishing is solitary perfection, shared with a very few others.

baseball is shared with 25,742 of your closest friends.

the stream can present you with mind-blowing multitudes of living creatures all working out their destinies.

the stadium can have a moment of complete silence with a tiny white sphere climbing higher and higher all alone...

both require and reward complete attention which erases the rest of the cares one might have brought along.

both offer opportunities for a bit of gentle conversation in quiet moments.

both offer long periods of graceful, repetitive motion with little result, followed by sudden intense action which might bring the same warm feeling of success.

...and both are best appreciated between April and October--we have to work on that!

"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
JADSeptember 22nd, 2008, 4:44 pm
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362
I remember a fly shop owner,in Spruce Creek- saying to me this summer, if fishing is that important in some-buddies life their taking it to serious well I thought that's me in a nut shell.

Well Casey I guess I better start watching Baseball


They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cock’s wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,

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