I guess I could describe myself as a “tweener”, not old school but not new school either. I see too many anglers being in one camp or the other. There is a lot to be learned from the older generation, and a lot of new ideas that can up your game.
If you are newer to the sport, here are a couple of observations: Nothing can replace time on the water. Nothing, not even fiber internet. There is a ton of information out there, videos (heck I make them), blogs, books, etc. but spending time on the water is the best teacher.
Stream research is best done by having an old timer take you fishing there than by any other means. You will find out more than any topo map or website will reveal. You will probably come away with some awesome life lessons as well, which could be priceless.
Euro-nymphing is not the solution to every water type and is not the best technique to learn first. Learn how to cast a weight forward set up, mend, fish a single dry fly, swing a wet fly and toss a streamer. Then you should get the Euro-rig out.
Join a local Trout Unlimited chapter and meet some folks to learn from.
On the flip side for the old schoolers: The internet is a great resource. Use it to find new techniques, fly patterns, and for stream research. Especially if you are travelling to foreign water and do not have someone you know to rely on for information.
Some of the new products are great. Lighter weight rods that can handle big fish are great. Fluorocarbon tippet is a better option than mono in most circumstances. Tungsten beaded flies are effective and a lot easier to deal with than spit shot.
You can learn from the new schoolers. I bet you ask your grandson for help with your cell phone and computer. The same can apply to fishing – they may know more about the latest and greatest.
Euro-nymphing is a fantastic technique to know. While it is not for every application, it flat catches fish in the right scenarios. It can be as simple or highly technical as you want to make it, and it will offer a change of pace to your fishing experience. If you are like me, there is nothing better than learning new ways to catch fish.
Actively recruit younger folks into your local TU chapter if you are a part of one you will both benefit.
Fish On! Big T
Stephen “Big T” Tomasovich is the owner of Big T Fly Fishing, Outfitter and Ecommerce Fly Shop. Visit them at 106 Grand Ave, Suwanee, Georgia, or look them up online at bigtflyfishing.com