It’s a beautiful day to be out on the water. As you wade through the stream, climbing over the many obstacles of moss covered, slippery river rock, labyrinths of fallen logs and branches, you gaze at a pool that clearly in your mind you’ve decided “must” hold fish. This is nothing like your early childhood experience of fishing when you couldn’t wait to run to the end of that dock and toss out that worm under a bobber and hope for the best. Things seemingly have gotten a little more technical and require a little more brain power and thought now. That bobber slapping the water will probably spook all the fish in this pool rendering them more wary and near impossible to catch then, totally ruining this supposed new found “Honey hole”.
Now you’ve just realized the beautiful science of flyfishing! You didn’t plan on dabbling in the sciences ever again. Some of you once you’ve graduated from school breathed a huge sigh of relief believing that you’d never even have to access that part of your brain anymore, trivializing it to an issue needing to be solved by a bit of science. And yet here you are gazing at this pool, reading the water, looking for any surface activity, studying the flora and fauna of the area. What bugs are out right now, what is hatching, are they even in the mood to strike something on the surface right now, the pool looks so inviting, but the lack of fish rising starts to make you think otherwise. Are the fish rolling over rocks and combing the substrate for nymphs, scuds, various insect larvae. What is the most prevalent food source on a trout’s menu this time of year, month, even this very day! Your brain is on overdrive, wanting to make the most out of this outing, wanting to make this as successful a fishing outing as possible! Sure they say that the act of “catching” fish isn’t the true purpose of fishing, more so it’s the time outdoors, that connection to nature, but lets me honest about it. To your mind right now this is all just a “casual myth”. You want a trout at the end of your line ASAP!
This is all part of the fun and “obsession” that draws people to the sport of flyfishing. You feel like a scientist or student of nature now, you might even say your IQ has risen a bit since taking up the sport. It is part of the snootiness, or elitist perception that fishermen engaged in more common fishing methods have, shall I say, “wrongfully” dubbed us flyfisher folk with. It’s also why during certain times of year or situation where flyfishing actually becomes the more superior or effective method in targeting a certain species. All you flyfisher folk reading this right now are nodding with a grin, thinking back to that time when you hit that perfect moment on the water where you encountered the first mayfly hatch of the year, and caught a fish on virtually every cast! All to the dismay and envy of other fishermen around you casting their spinners, worm imitations, plugs or salmon eggs without even coming close to the success you achieved. And let’s not be discriminatory to other species, as I have even had times where fly fishing had the same effect on panfish or bass, not just trout.
Yes! Fly fishing has made science fun once again. You didn’t plan on this happening, it just naturally happened, and now you’ve become a student of nature. Analyzing the water, studying your quarry, learning about the habits and diets of the fish you’ve grown to love and appreciate in all their complexity and intelligence that you otherwise never even thought they would have before taking up the sport. It’s what makes getting the fish to bite, and then hopefully landing your quarry that made all that learning and problem solving worth it in the end. This is the beauty and fun of fly fishing, and in the