Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fast or slow?

Fast or slow?

Something I just read got stuck in my craw. A report on a Wisconsin steelhead river where the poster ‘Only caught four hens.’ So, he described the fishing as slow? Was he using dynamite? I mean come on now… what do you want? A truck from the hatchery to dump 500 fish into your run? I would consider four fish landed in a day as quite good sport.

This gets at our differing concepts of what the joy of fly fishing is all about. To me it is the scenery, the rivers, the water, wild creatures, friends, pretty flies, etc., etc.
On my recent three-week tour the fishing was challenging to say the least. The days I got skunked made the fish that more precious. Steelhead are not commodities to be tallied up. A recent product on the market is a plastic trout pin with a counter built in so that you can keep count of fish landed and best your friends and enemies. Sheesh!

Reading this post, I reflected on the fish I hit yesterday on a floating line. I boiled it on a Lord Byron hairwing, (a new original pattern), and changed flies four times to get him back. He finally ate a low water orange creation of mine not fished since 2003. I marveled at the chrome beauty of the fish and at the pretty fly lodged cleanly in the corner of its mouth. I did not need four more to make it ‘a slow day.’ One fish was enough to get all the juices flowing.

Appreciation and restraint make this sport what it is, and the soul of the matter is lost when we reduce the fish to numbers.

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