Why flyfishing? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Why flyfishing?

01-06-2003, 04:19 PM
What is it about this angling method that attracts you?
For me there is a mystery about fly fishing that I just can't explain. The solitude I find where I am able to "escape" for the moment and my only worries are whether I'll have any wind knots to deal with.
The satisfaction of laying your line out perfectly and the anticipation of a fish rising to a dry fly. The screaming of your fly reel when a steelhead takes line off of it and the graceful beauty of a well executed roll cast.
The famous fly fishermen from the past couldn't explain it either.
Why is one drawn to this method when there are so many other more productive methods out there for taking fish?
We fly fishers often maligned by others as being "elitests" that's too funny because any of you that know me know that couldn't be further from the truth. Maybe it's the satisfied look on our faces after a day on the river that some cannot understand.
In a world of conspicuous consumption I am happy to be able to just hike up the Deschutes canyon for a few hours and maybe see three or four others along the way.
The rewards are many for me in fly fishing but most do not revolve around taking a bunch of fish.
Maybe that's the mystery
Those of you that know what I am talking about can relate....you've been there

01-06-2003, 05:04 PM
for myself.

It's the only type of fishing I know of that your can take something of your own (design, you tied it, etc.) and try to 'fool Mr. Fish'. Very few ways to be individually 'creative' if you're a gear slinger.

old man
01-06-2003, 05:37 PM
I think that it's just getting out there away from everybody that draws me into it. Almost everybody can catch fish with gear. When I get out there it's like being in another world. Quiet and calm. Like what Fred said about tying up his own creation and fooling the fish with it.

01-06-2003, 05:42 PM
I'm not sure exactly why I enjoy it so much myself. I just know that since I started fly fishing I have had no desire to use the spinning rod even when it would be less frustrating and/or more productive than using the fly rod. I think that one reason it appeals to me so much is because I can get so much satisfaction just from making a nice cast. Each cast presents a new challenge with a chance of success or failure, and no matter how good I may get, I know there will always be room for improvement.


01-06-2003, 05:52 PM
I admire the simplicity of a fly reel's design as well as it's precision machining and toughness under pressure when a fish puts it into play.

I sense a balance of finesse and force like life itself in a good fly rod. I am soothed by the graceful advance of a speycast reaching out over a misty steelhead river, and energized by the spine-tingling anticipation of shooting a double-haul into a hard crashing surf full of fleeing bait.

I am surprised by the flies that pop out of my head and fingers, un-named until I give them one, while tying much too late on a sleepless pre-fishing night.

I am deeply satisfied by the victory of a good catch, and redeemed by the vigorous flight of a big fish upon release.

My memories are filled with the camaraderie of good freinds, old and new, around a fire on a weekend outing with a tin cup of the good stuff.

Damn, I just plain love flyfishing!

01-06-2003, 07:47 PM
My mentor as a child growing into the world of the angler, was about as far away from an eletist as one could get. However he taught me a very valued lesson in this regard and I have more or less made it a guiding principle in my angling and life beyond that.

We were driving to and from the rivers of the Olympic Penninsula on a regular basis, and one time the subject came around to why do we fish, and more specificly, why did he Fly Fish? His answer, I have never forgotten it (obviously), " You get out of Fishing what you put into it". There was a lenghty silence followed by a very lgoodly listing of various means that more advanced anglers chose to pursue there sport. Light tackle, no bait, and ultimately Fly tackle. All this of course is to make it more of a challange.

Most of the guys I grew up with that did not take this advice are now not fishing very often. However the Old Timer is in his 70's disdains the use of boats and fishes with nothing but Fly Tackle, he even took up Spey Casting in the last decade. I mention that he does not use boats on rivers because to him this was the ultimate in simplifying the sport and shows the dedication and persistance of this older generation fisherman.

01-06-2003, 07:54 PM
Because it is difficult, I can do it in solitude, and it brings me close to nature.

PM Out

John Desjardins
01-06-2003, 09:13 PM
I think a large part of it for me is that I'm always learning and observing new things. Trying to put together the puzzle of what motivates the fish to bite.

The observation extends to other parts of life. I'll bet many of us have had near accidents while studyuing a bug on a windshield. :tsk_tsk:

01-06-2003, 09:24 PM
Why? First of all, I was taught to appreciate it at a tender age, some 60+ years ago, by a gruff great uncle (with a heart of gold!) Under his watchful eye, I really learned to ENJOY myself. Yes, I tried the other methods as they came along, but never with the satisfaction I enjoy from fly fishing.
Why do I persist in deer hunting with an old traditional flintlock? Why do I hunt grouse with a muzzleloading shotgun?

Maybe it's the gear - most of which you can make (at least partially), or the excitement of a rise, or seeing your indicator disappear. The peace and serenity of the surroundings has a lot to do with it, I am sure.

Because I enjoy these things more than anything else!


01-06-2003, 09:24 PM
"My mentor as a child growing into the world of the angler, was about as far away from an eletist as one could get. However he taught me a very valued lesson in this regard and I have more or less made it a guiding principle in my angling and life beyond that."

old he was, he was just old. And knew everything about everything. Patience of God with a young kid, taught me how to tie simple flys, then on to the river to see if they worked. Some did, most didn't ... but his "version" of the same thing almost always worked. A goal to shoot for. I may have been eight, but I wasn't dumb.

One of his lessons was to take 'stuff' and see if you could make something that would work. 50+ years later I'm still trying ... and still thinking about "Mr. Coles."

01-06-2003, 09:36 PM
I love to fish. Most of the reasons I like fly fishing would aply regardless of the gear I use. The solitude and companionship; The mastery and the mystery; The defeats and the succeses; The connection with nature and the wild; The history and the literature and the dreams and all the scheming are universal parts of fishing. To think otherwise would be more than a little snobish.
I like fishing with a fly because sometimes it is the most effective way to catch fish in a given circumstance. I like flyfishing because sometimes it's almost imposible to catch a fish on a fly.
I love fly casting. It can be beautiful or ugly. Sometimes it is both at the same time.
I love quietly dropping a fly right into a fishes kitchen. A big splat can be good too.
I love it when a fish takes one of my poorly tied flys. Thankyou!
I love fly fishing because of the direct connection between me and the fish when I set the hook. It's like an electric shock.
I love how the spool spins as a fish takes off line. Direct and even a little dangerouse.
I love showing people how to flyfish.
I love overcoming the frustration that seems to be unique to flyfishing. It can be a twisted kind of fun.
The rewards are so sweet.

01-06-2003, 10:22 PM
Because it is Truth, manafest! Real truth, not mans version. Because it is widley entertained in Cathedral settings. Because of its simplicity, that is to say, Fly, Fish, and Follower. Because the Macedonians were said to have "cast lines". Because, it is said, that Adam taught it to his sons. Because it is a Sacred endevour, fit for Kings and common man alike, and because I love working the quarry...
I remain, an Angler

01-06-2003, 10:42 PM
I've been fly fishing since age 5 when my father began to teach me how to fly fish. I have not fished with anything other than fly tackle since age 10. I find other forms of angling to be wither boring or less challenging than fly fishing. It takes far more skill to cast a fly line well than to cast a spinning rod or casting rod.

There is beauty and grace in a well executed fly cast, whether with the single hand rod or the 2-hand rod, spey cast, roll cast, or overhead cast, all are wonderfull to see unrolling. The feel of the rod loading and unloading as a cast is made. The tying of a proper tapered leader, the skill involved in mending and fishing a fly properly. The literature of fly fishing and fly tying that spans centuries and connects me with the past, the present, and the future. It is the exchanging of ideas and ideals with others who fly fish. It has to do with the environs in which salmonids are found, although I greatly enjoy fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, pickerel, northern pike, and shad with a fly rod.

There is the commeraderie found with fellow fishers of the fly. The feel of water against me legs, the morning chill, the afternoon summer heat, the birds, insects, and animals one encounters while fishing. The mountains, hills, trees, sky, clouds, rain, and snow. The sound of riffles, rapids, gentle runs, wind, jumping or feeding fish, and reels letting out line.

The bits of feathers, steel, tinsel, thread, floss, and fur that are flies (lures) are made of. the wonder of a child's face seeing a fly take form as it is tied. The genteelness of most fly fishers. The care for the resource and the natural environment which fly fishers generally have. The majority of those I have called friend over the years became so because of a common interest in fly fishing. All these friends and all other fly fishers from millionaires to attorneys to judges to mill workers to teachers to college professors to machinist to mechanics to businemen, all are equal when fly fishing, whether fishing the finest rods or cheapo rods. And they all shared a common interest in the history of the sport and reading and ideas.

When fishing, all the troubles of this life vanish for the short time I am astream. It allows me to get away from responsibilities and simply be myself. A day or a few hours fly fishing renews me and allows me to face the stresses or the job and life once again. Yes, it has provided so many very good memories throughout the 44 years I have been fly fishing that my life would be less rich without having fly fished or tied flies.

01-06-2003, 11:24 PM
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fly fish and he'll practice catch & release.

Why fly fish?


It's inherently less mechanical than other forms of fishing.

You step into the cool morning water....strip,strip,strip,strip,strip...line in your basket....roll cast....up-back-haul-stop-drift.......pause........power forward-haul-release&shoot...........strip,strip,strip.....pause....str ip....pause....strip,strip,strip,WHAM!!!-strip-pinch-rod up....clear the line-ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Every time I watch this frenetic scene play out I'm reminded of the old black & white footage of Jackson Pollock painting. People looked at his canvases and saw paint. What they were missing was the spectacle of him applying the paint. Your friends and family see a picture of you and a fish, it's cut and dry to them. It's up to us to enlighten them about the passion, power, fury and FINESSE..........

01-07-2003, 04:49 AM
Because of the Zen of Flyfishing. There is nothing that beats catching a fish on a rod that you built and a fly that you made. Also, the people it attracts. My kind of people. If this is perceived as elitist so be it.

Dble Haul
01-07-2003, 08:49 AM
I can think of three reasons...

It's a perfect blend of strength and delicacy.

While some fishing can be passive, flyfishing is always active.

There are many times when other gear would be more productive, but when the conditions are right and the fly is what can be fished the best it's just simply one of the sweetest things in life.

01-07-2003, 09:32 AM
I'm in it for the ZEN. The feeling of total insulation from the rest of the world when your senses are ultimately in tune with the flex of a flyrod and the pursuit of your quarry.

The ongoing sound if the river in your ears when you step away from a raging freestoner after fishing and camping on it for a few days straight.

The strange effect a tidal flat can have on your senses after you've been scanning fish for hours on end, trying to find the zone. And the good tired feeling when you get back to the car after a long day in the sand, salt and sun.

Random encounters with nature and witnessing the cycle of life being carried out day to day basis, unnoticed by the rest of the world.

And most importantly the sound my drag makes when a big fish takes a fly that I tied the night before - at the picnic table with good friends and a couple of brews.

It doesn't get any better than this :D

01-10-2003, 12:19 PM
For me, it's the only control I have in the surreal world I forged for myself.
I deal in abstracts and caos on a daily basis.

Fly fishing offers me an escape, a way back to days long ago.
A time to think and reflect.

01-10-2003, 03:18 PM
Great responses from all :)

01-10-2003, 05:09 PM
Locations, Observations, Romatization,
Frustrations & Celebration.

Plans, Preparations & Traditions.

Relaxation, Fraternization, Dedication,
Participations & Explanation.

Exertions, Hesitations & Realizations

Tension, Contemplation,
Meditations, Endless Iterations.

Still no explanation!

01-10-2003, 08:06 PM
I totally agree with all comments to date. My wife bought me a flyfishing package for my fortieth birthday last year. The inlaws chipped in for a vest and my sister and brother in law a selection of flies. Since that time (October 2001), I have spent hundreds of hours in the water enjoying the sport. It's the only thing I do that I don't have my cell phone by my side (that and marital relations of course..). I used to spin cast and still do a bit in LI sound and out at the vineyard, but there is something "pure" about flyfishing.

I don't care if I catch a fish or not. Standing at river side prior to entering the water, lining up the rod, one begins to feel the rythem of the water and nature. Striding into the water, you become part of the flow of the river.

I have seen bald eagles flying overhead, and had lines of geese "blow ballast" as they suddenly become aware of my presence when flying upstream. I have seen beavers eating vegetation in the ripples I am fishing. The light changes as the day progresses, and in doing so, different aspects of the riverside become more prevalent. Like watching a movie...

One observation, when entering a stretch of water with other flyfishermen in the water, there is little or no interaction. Get the same guy in the parking lot or at the local fly shop and the conversation flows, based on the mutual appreciation of the sport. Why is that?

Tight lines all...