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Old 01-03-2001, 09:56 AM
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juro juro is offline
Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Steelhead country|striper coast|bonefish belt
Posts: 20,594
RE:A Lurker No More

Ryan -

First of all it's great to have you on the forum and WELCOME. Your enthusiasm for the wild steelhead cause in the PNW is inspiring and contagious! Hope we can hook up on conclaves and fly swaps this season and beyond; and of course if there is ever travel to one of the other Forum regions for work or leisure you can count on having a host to show you their home waters. Everyone who joins in helps the cause!

As far as your question, there are two ways of looking at it. The first perspective is like the fish worship tee shirt "Is it wrong?". The other is to consider the merits of the alternatives.

I think we all at one point or another felt the frustration of using a classic fly presentation while people throwing bait, gear or plugs bang fish after fish. It's definitely enough to raise some anxiety in the approach once in a while. As long as it's legal, I am not going to pass judgement on what others are doing. If it shouldn't be legal, that's another story - but we should take that out on law makers not anglers. So is it wrong? That's up to you.

One of the reasons I sold all of my non-fly gear at a garage sale many years ago was to force me to learn how to be a serious flyfisherman. Until I did, it was something I toyed with - but I always reached for the gear like a crutch. I could feel the beauty of flyfishing, sense the magic of catching steelhead on flies, and connect with the timeless legacy of the sport of kings... but couldn't get serious as long as I had "the crutch" in my truck. So I sold every bit of non-fly gear at a garage sale in our neighborhood. Boy was my wife happy when she counted the dinero in the shoebox! A little payback never hurts, eh?

Then it started. I got serious. I went fishing, armed with only a flyrod and a box of the previous night's delusions of grandeur in feathers and steel, to step into the morning mist on the river and stare into the rows of fresh patterns waiting for one to hint to me "fish me - I am the ONE".

I started to see the river as a myriad of intricate trophy searun lies, not as a holding pool near a hatchery. I started to develop an array of complex presentation styles, not just tap-tap-tap repeat. I started to develop a much deeper appreciation for every nuance of the jewel of the earth known as a pacific northwest river, and with another sip from the flask on a giant driftwood streamside log the words of Haig-Brown or Trueblood or McClane or countless others played in my head. There on that log, I was a player on the bench, no longer in the stands above.

I would go fishing for summer runs with only dry lines and long leaders and work the surface, admittedly doubting the viability of the whole approach until that first slashing takedown. It was no less astounding than anything else I've experienced. IN comparison, I hardly knew I had a fish on when I hooked my first gear-caught steelhead... until I set the hook of course. In fact the giddy schoolboy joy I got from the first surface take by a June summer run on the Auburn stretch of the Green River just above the walk bridge at the bouldery run on the Kent side of the tailout below the slab hole on a caddis skater thing... will never be forgotten, nor has it ever gotten less intense over the years.

My point is, the way you fish determines the prize you get when you succeed. I have a hard time remembering any steelie I landed on gear, while I can't forget even one I have caught on flies. Of these, I remember the ones that I worked for the most - and those on the surface are the apex of this list.

Is it wrong? NAW. But what might you be *missing*?


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