Why does it have to be difficult?

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Creek 1 year, 9 months ago.

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    Scotty MacFly

    I don’t want anyone to over analyze this, we all fish for different reasons in different ways at different levels, and I am very good with it. To each their own as long as it’s done with good ethics. So please don’t think I’m making fun of anyone or looking down on them in any form. I am curious, that’s all.

    There are some fly fishers who really get into the science of the sport, from the chemical make-up of the fly line to the in depths of the entomology of it and know the scientific names of all the tiny critters under the rocks. Some carry thermometers to use for the water temp. and have a vest / pack / bag filled with toys and gadgets like Batman’s utility belt. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    Then there are others who like to keep it simple, and some even like to minimize and take very few things with them fishing. I am one who tries to keep it simple and just have fun fishing. That’s what it’s all about to me, just getting out and having fun. My grandfather always told me to keep it simple and enjoy the moment, and not get too caught up in all the scientific stuff. just as well because I never was good at science.

    But it hit me today. Ask yourself this one question, and keep asking yourself till you get to the root of it. Why do we fish? I thought about it all day, and eliminated all the why’s and got to the what’s. So now the question became, what am I trying to do? Answer: it’s not really to catch a fish, but in all honesty, I think it’s to entice a fish to take our offering. For a fish to take a fly, it first must be enticed. You can’t get the second drop of water till you get the first. That’s all we’re really doing is trying to fool or entice an animal with a very small brain. But in favor of the fish, the fish knows it’s world far better than we do. I will give the fish some credit.

    But it seems funny to me to see fly fishers that are loaded with all the fine gadgets, keeping notes on weather conditions, time of day, water temp. fly pattern and size, and so on. Again, I’m fine with it, but they are just doing what I’m doing, trying to entice a fish. It can’t be that difficult.

    I thought of this because an engineer at work said the other day that’s what he can’t figure out about fly fishing, why a sport that’s supposed to be very relaxing can be so stressfull at the same time by bringing in all the fancy equipment to make it easier and try and figure out how to catch a fish.

    It doesn’t matter to me how one fishes, and the amount of knowledge they have along with their toys they fish with. Because in the end, we are all still trying to entice a fish to eat a fake bug.


    Dark Waters

    I’ve had these thoughts, and honestly… what I have come up with is the fact that, I fish because that’s what I do. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed. Since as long as I can remember, and it can still ignite that joy inside me that nothing else can. That’s enough for me.

    I used to dream about trout. Catching them in several streams and ponds, both real and imagined, when I didn’t catch them or never could as a young man. I don’t have those dreams anymore, but I get to do it for real.


    Scotty MacFly

    I mentioned the engineer who got me thinking about this subject, and he told me that he has caught more fish with a nymph as it’s down river water skiing on the surface. Nymphs are not supposed to do that naturally, but it does catch fish. I had to agree with that because it has happened to me, but I told him that in fly fishing there’s like a code of rules we follow. And the one rule that defines it all up is to make your fly appear natural in all manners. It’s a game of wits, who can out think who, human or fish? And we do know that fish are not dumb, they know how a bug reacts and looks under water.



    It’s simple for me. I love to cast a fly rod. I love to see a dry fly floating drag free downstream. I strive to make the perfect cast every time. That’s a lofty goal, but the challenge keeps me trying.

    Catching lot’s of fish, bigger fish, or fish at all is secondary to the procedure of doing it.



    It doesn’t have to be difficult . . . some chose to make it so.

    Yesterday I was dry fly fishing pocket water in a tumbling Sierra stream. It was a beautiful fall day in a beautiful place. Yes, I caught a couple fish. Although it was physically an all day struggle with steep rocks, streamside trees and brush, I never once thought about any of that other stuff.

    That, for me, was a great day of fly fishing.


    Scotty MacFly

    You’re right jwh, it doesn’t. I was in a fishing contest years ago at a company function that my wife worked for. I started out really being competitive, and after awhile of focusing on the position of the sun, looking for schools of bait fish, watching my competitors, and here’s the kicker, I had a devise that would tell me what color, size, and what lure to use in certain water conditions, I was getting stressed. The pressure was on me because my wife and son were counting on me to win. I DID NOT LIKE THAT FEELING! That was the only time I ever did any competitive fishing, and it won’t ever happen again. Anyway, after awhile I found I was casting anywhere just for the chance of maybe a fish was in that area and would strike. That was stupid. I soon decided to just forget about the competition, and get back down to earth and do a reality check, because I had nothing to prove to anyone. I then started fishing just for the fun of fishing, and you know what, the stress went away, and I was having fun again. I didn’t care about what people thought, or keeping the sun in front of me so my shadow stayed behind me and all the other garbage. I was having fun and quit caring. The funny thing is, I started catching more fish because I wasn’t in panic mode anymore casting my lure as fast as I could anywhere and everywhere. I slowed down and breathed again.



    Why do I fish? Because as Judge Voelker put it – “…not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important, but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant and not nearly so much fun.”

    On the gear whore question – I suppose I’m somewhere in the middle – don’t own, much less carry gadgets apart from a hemostat and nippers. A net only on rivers with larger than average fish that can be overstressed by hand landing, maybe a mini flashlight if I expect to be out after dark or a cheap thermometer on hot days to tell me to stop fishing when the water gets too warm for trout to survive being caught and released. No notebook or fishing journal.

    But I do carry a lot of fly boxes, maybe too many. Because I spend most of my time on pressured spring creeks and tailwaters where having the right fly in the right size makes a difference. I kind of admire the tenkara guys with just a couple of impressionistic flies and what amounts to a fancy cane pole. They make a few drifts and if a fish doesn’t hit they move on. I can’t do that – I’ll get stuck on one challenging riser and stay until I get it or put it down.


    Dry Fly Guy

    I am also of the “keep it simple” mentality and I’m usually on the water armed with nothing more than my own knowledge, a small box of flies, and one of those small scissor/hemostats. Oh…. and some magnification. (Glasses or “flip downs” on my hat.) With my eyes, they’ve become pretty important gear to carry!

    If I’m traveling “heavy” I have a small chest pack that can carry a bit more, including some “non-essentials” like a thermometer (that I rarely use anymore) and a hook hone. (which I’ve used more than the thermometer but still not much.)

    I have to admit that I’ve been through my fair share of “toys”. But I will also add that I believe they were very helpful in adding to my knowledge base and experience. The old saying of “you can’t make a withdrawal from an empty bank” certainly applied in my case. So while I don’t study entomology, log my fishing journeys, or seine the stream anymore, (in fact, I really don’t do anything other than just “go fish” now) those “difficult” days on (and off) the water have provided a wealth of information for me to draw on at this stage.

    I understand Scotty’s point regarding fooling a fish being the goal, and at one point I even bought it wholesale for a few outings, choosing to “fish” without a hook. But in the end, for me, there is no feeling like “hooking up” and witnessing something as beautiful as these fish we chase up close and personal. I still get that little thrill and a certain reverence watching them swim away as I release them. And I think that is probably one of the reasons I fish. I’m not particularly religious, but I feel a certain “reverence” for nature and natural surroundings. And being immersed in, and experiencing those feelings for a few minutes, hours, or days is certainly one reason why I fish.

    But there is also no denying that I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie. And the “thrill” still plays a big part of why I fish. (Or ski, or surf, or bike, or sail, or rock climb, or…)

    As for the pea sized brain… I never claimed to be smarter than a fish, and the day I do I am probably senile.

    ~ DFG



    I guess the short answer (and just my opinion) is that it doesn’t HAVE to be, but it CAN be. I’ve had a number of interests/hobbies/passions over the years, and in each case I’ve discovered that others involved have varying degrees of commitment/interest in the activities. I think we each find our own level. Some are, by personality, driven to explore the minutiae of whatever they are involved in; some are driven to own the ultimate gear/gadgets/rigging that goes with the activity. Some want to master the mechanics and the skills of the activity. Some seem happiest when sharing the activity with others and/or belonging to related clubs. Some want to take courses; some want to collect (or even contribute to) the literature in the field of interest. At the other end of the spectrum (and it IS a spectrum), some folks just (in the example at hand) own a fly rod and a few flies, and enjoy going out and casting a fly that may or may not be appropriate, sloppily yet happily to fish that may or may not be there. At the end of the day, the question is always the same: did you have fun?
    I think if there is any one important thing I’ve learned in the process of getting older, its that there is no one true path in most, if not all things. Always be suspicious of people who think there is, and by wildest coincidence, it is THEIR path. The second most important thing is that I have never learned ANYTHING from anyone who saw the world exactly as I see it.



    Did you have fun is the answer. Some may enjoy complicated. others just want to fish and not worry about what gadget to pull out.

    Whatever floats your fly………do it.

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