More Than Catching Fish

The sport of fly fishing goes beyond making the perfect cast or hooking the biggest fish. Of course, being able to cast and catch fish are important skills to master, but it goes deeper. Friendship, conservation and stewardship are qualities equally important for a fly angler at any level.

Building Friendships

Friendships built through fly fishing are often long-lasting and meaningful. Sharing the moment with a friend enhances the experience. Whether it’s catching your first fish on a fly or finding that flat or beach that has never been fishes, it’s more fun with a good buddy.

Often, it’s not even about the fish or fishing, but rather about being out on the water with a friend, appreciating the surroundings and sharing a few laughs at lame jokes. Perhaps you can share knowledge about knots and flies, or critique and make fun of each other’s casting skills. If so inclined, the two of you can join a local fly fishing club or fly-tying class, where you can absorb all sorts of good information with other saltwater fly enthusiasts.

Conservation and Stewardship

As anglers, we hold a unique position in the outdoor world. We engage with nature on a very intimate level. We aren’t looking at nature through a computer screen or through a fence. We are touching it, wading through it, appreciating every opportunity we have to participate in it. So, I believe being conservation minded and stewards of our resources is important. Share the conservation message with other anglers, participate in efforts that improve our fisheries, educate non-anglers about fishing.

Find a Mentor – Fly Shops/Fly Fishing Club

I’m very lucky. My father was, and still is at 92, my fly fishing mentor. He and I have traveled many miles over the past 45 years in search of any fish willing to eat the fly. We’ve even caught a few.

Finding a mentor who will take you under his/her wing and teach you about fly fishing is very important. There’s a given concerning fly fishermen, saltwater or freshwater: they are not loners. They love fellow fly anglers, especially folks who are just entering the sport. Many fly fishers will gladly talk for hours about fly fishing, sharing their experiences.

Where does and newbie find a mentor? Visit your local fly shop or spend an hour or so with members of your local fly fly fishing club. You can usually find that “old salt,” the guy who has been fly fishing for years and is eager to share his experiences and knowledge with an eager and open learner.

by Conway Bowman

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