Kinda hard to believe…but it is indeed 2015. We are closer to the year 2030 than we are to 1999; what? That can’t be…ah, but it is. I can still remember wondering what might just happen when we cruised into the second millennium…and here we are looking forward to the 16th year of the 2000’s.
Instead of looking backward to 14’, I want to look forward to our current year and all that there is to do in the outdoors. I hope over the past few years that I’ve motivated you to get up, get out and get going. If not, then “Come on Man”…make 2015 the year that you get healthier both physically, mentally and spiritually.
Just recently on one of my very favorite shows, Buccaneers and Bones, I watched as actor/comedian Jim Belushi went fly fishing for the very first time. Now he wasn’t just fly fishing for any old fish; no, he was fly fishing for a bone fish. He, Jim, was interviewed and simply stated he has recently purchased land/home on a quality river in Oregon. Jim explained that he wanted to learn how to fly fish so that he could take part in what looked like so much fun.
On the show he was guided by a young man who was patient and took his time in showing him how to cast. If you haven’t ever tried fly fishing then it might not look that tough…on the other hand if you have ever picked up a fly rod then you know that it takes some timing and when it goes wrong, well, it can be quite frustrating. After many attempts it becomes evident that Jim both has some natural ability and was very motivated to make a quality cast. As the show plays out they actually start casting to bone fish; Jim eventually hooks up and in the process of landing the fish, tumbles off the front of the casting platform, into the ocean, ruining several thousand dollars of sound equipment in the process. What happens next is most impressive…he pops up, keeps his rod tip high…and goes right on to land the bone!
As I watched this play out it became evident to me that here is a guy who probably has had or could have anything he wants. Clearly he has been very successful on many fronts. However, you can’t watch the show without understanding that fly fishing…and landing this first fish, well, it’s more important to him than just about anything. This is the essence of fly fishing, or maybe just fishing in general. I am sure that we will see more from Jim in the future because the bone fish wasn’t the only thing that ‘bit’ during the show.
Probably fly fishing or more directly fly casting is a bit intimidating. OK…I get that. There are many places to turn for fly casting instruction. We live in an era of information and instructional DVD’s are numerous. Even simpler is You-Tube. I have found this past year that there really is help via You-Tube for just about anything you need to do or want to learn. Fly casting is certainly a topic that is broached by all kinds of ‘fly-guys’. I have three different videos that speak directly to the basics of fly casting. My video entitled Fly Casting Basics-Part 1 will get you started and give you the techniques you need to move from your yard (practicing to a target) to water and a real chance to be successful. The video is only 7 minutes long and to date has almost 20,000 views…so, please give it a watch.
The second question is usually about cost. Most folks think fly fishing is an expensive endeavor but it can be done quite reasonably. Truth is I would start with a fly rod/reel combo and wouldn’t spend much over $100 dollars. You can find these combo’s at Cabela’s, Orvis, Bass Pro and many other reputable vendors. If I were a beginner I would probably start with a 9’, 5 or 6 weight outfit. I won’t go into great detail about fly casting equipment but just understand that the smaller the weight the smaller the outfit. For example a 3 weight rod would typically be used for smaller fish like trout, small bass or panfish. A larger 8 weight rod might be used for large bass, big trout, salmon, etc… This being said, a 5 or 6 weight outfit will fall somewhere in the middle and will allow you to fish a wide variety of species and do so competently.
The last misnomer about fly fishing is that most folks think fly guys only fish on the top or top couple inches of water. That is not at all the case. Truth is that I rarely fish within a foot of the surface. I am sure that this idea has come from watching shows that involve casters fishing for trout using very small dry flies. If this were the case then I wouldn’t catch near as many bass and other subsurface feeders as I do. First off flies can be chosen that are weighted; secondly technology has brought fly fishing out of the 19th century and right into the 21st. Fly lines are now weighted and even more recent is the advent of sink-tip fly lines that allow you to cast like a floating line but quickly sink to pull the fly down into the target zone of bass, panfish, trout, musky and even catfish…yes, catfish. This past year I caught a slew of cats on the fly and even caught one so large I couldn’t manage to take a photo of it by myself!
So…what are you waiting for? Join me and the many others who have experienced the total thrill of landing a fish via the fly. Here is a truth that I am firmly grounded in…fly fishing takes you to the most beautiful places in the world. Come on along in 2015 and let’s all Enjoy the Great Outdoors.