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August 20, 2011 / flogginwater

The Bird’s (got) The Word

The other day Owl Jones broke away from his usual fun fluff and silly posting – took aim, and with one true blow from the good ol’ Stanley claw hammer, hit the nail right on the head with THIS POST.

Too many people try to foist off this notion that to learn how to fly fish, one needs a thousand dollars in gear – when the truth of the matter is that the $12 Goodwill rod with a beat to hell old Shakespeare reel with a half-bent spool rim will catch fish – if the angler does *their* part. It’s too easy to gloss over that little bit, when reading the rod catalogs.

There is no magic wand (okay, Tenkara rods maybe) that will make you catch fish. That’s what every angler has to learn to do for themselves, and a neophyte fly fisher would be better served with a conservative outfit – something in the $50 to $100 range as their first rod & reel – rather than the $200 Sage or Loomis rod, with the $150 Ross reel. Fish don’t care what the brand of your rod is. They don’t care if it’s glass, graphite, cane, or a sapling you cut on the side of the stream that morning. They’re not impressed. Only people to be impressed are other anglers, a lot of whom are just insecure in their own abilities and must hide behind flashy, expensive equipment because they lack fish-sense or skill to get the job done.

I’ve got nothing against high dollar gear – it’s quite good, and if you’ve got money to burn, there’s worse things to spend it on. I just hate reading some jack wagon spouting off to a would-be fly fisher that they simply can’t catch fish, or learn to cast with anything less than $300 worth of gear. Most people who try fly fishing won’t stick with it – why burden them with such gear, when they’re going to sell it 3 to 6 months down the road? So you can pick it up at the garage sale for $100?

Nope – Owl got it right in his list of gear – especially with item number 20: Find someone to take you fishing who knows what they’re doing! That’s the most important thing. The guy with a thousand bucks in gear, but who can’t read water better than the average kindergartener won’t get you into fish. The guy who spouts off about high modulus, light weight graphite rods like some scientist, but who can’t get his leader to straighten beyond twenty feet isn’t the right guy either. Then again, neither is the guy who claims you can’t catch fish within 100 feet – and that the only way to get a fish is to cast into your backing every time. With few exceptions, we need not be Tim Rajeff to get our fly in front of fish, and I doubt Tim Rajeff needs to be Tim Rajeff to catch fish. Tournament casting and honest to god fishing have little in common, other than both require you to hold the fat end of the stick. (For the record, Mr. Rajeff was a guide himself, so he IS a fisherman, and knows how to find and catch fish.) Find some crusty cuss – old or young – who knows where the fish hide, what they eat, when they eat, and how they eat it. Soak up his knowledge. Admire lovingly his taped together fiberglass rod with the missing stripping guide. And get some fish.

Good posting, Owl.



  1. Cofisher / Aug 20 2011 11:11

    Yep, ol' Owl hit the nail on the head but you have to admit that it's kind of fun when the only head that get's nailed is his!
    I've been saying for years that you don't need to spend a fortune to be a successful fly fisher. But if you do, be sure to let me know when the garage sale is.

  2. Mark / Aug 20 2011 23:17

    Somehow I never get to find the great garage sale deals. I bet the guys who keep pushing Sage rods on newbs get them first.

    I did get a couple great deals at Dick's Sporting Goods of all places today. Picked up a new pair of wading boots for $17 on a double red tag type sale. Also picked up a Cortland mini sinking head for $2.59, same sale.

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