The Rats Nest

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Are Their Really Any Secrets In Fly Fishing Anymore?

Happy New Year, for 2015 I have made a pact with myself to write on the blog more.  I am going to start you off lightly with something that struck me the other day.  Feel free to comment, good bad or indifferent.  Heck, I may even respond.
The other day while  I was walking out of a not so familiar fishery with a good friend we had a pretty deep discussion.  The premise of our conversation stemmed mostly as the result of our freezing our rear ends off with little success on what at times had been a rather productive stretch of water.  We both began belly aching about how this particular piece of water had been "blown up" so to speak, and it got me thinking that evening. 

Regardless of how forthcoming any of us fisherman are, we all are secretive about certain aspects of our sport to varying degrees.  I would be outright lying  if I stated that I have never been in the many years that I have fished, but I have also struggled with what is the linear demarcation between giving up too much, and not giving up enough. 

When I guided, my morals had me constantly re-evaluating situations in an effort to constantly do the right thing so as not to disrespect the fisheries I guided on.  I quickly found that it was a conundrum that I struggled with a lot, but somehow a little reflection or thought kept me on the right side of that thin line of ethical decisions.  Granted, there will always be some that disagree with you no matter what you do, and that is just human nature, but overall by putting the river and fish first I seemed to always make the right decisions with a clear head.

A perfect example lies in the volume of fly tying videos I have concocted over the last 5-6 years.  Most of the people I encounter are more than thankful that I have freely put them up there for the masses to indulge without charging a fee or asking for something in return.  The payment for me is the many nice emails and quick mentions I get from fellow fisherman who have had successes of their own after watching the videos and tying the fly flies for themselves. 

The very small minority who have commented on why I would put those videos out there for the masses to see without something in return I take with a grain of salt.  My simple answer to the few who ask this is always the same.  I really don't see the need to keep something like fly patterns a secret, the concepts and ideals behind all of them were influenced by people before me who found that sharing them was their way of giving back.     Besides, no matter how many patterns you show somebody, they still need to be able to deliver the "goods" so to speak in an effective manner in order to get that positive response from the fish.  To the less than 2% of you out there who are of this mindset, I understand your concern, but in the end I disagree with you whole heartily. 

The Internet has made many of these "secrets" not so much a secret anymore.  If you are willing and able, you can pretty much find a plethora of information on the web just by strategically plugging in a few key words in a search engine.  So after our conversation about spot burning, and the dissemination of fishing Intel, I got on my computer over a cup of coffee (I gotta admit it was more like 3, I have a caffeine problem), and began typing in random fly fishing related topics just to see what I could find. 

In the end here's what I found, it is rather interesting albeit even if my topics were rather limited.  A quick search on Bing found the following:

Fly Fishing Secrets = 9,170,000 results
Fly Fishing = 5,170,00 results
Fly Tying Secrets = 4,670,000 results
Fly Tying = 7,170,000 results
Fly Fishing Places = 11,800,000 results
Fly Fishing Maps = 18,300,000 results

Millions and millions of results.  The average human couldn't peruse a quarter of them all in a lifetime.  I can tell you too, I am not the most Internet savvy individual either, and I am fairly certain that somebody who is could most likely narrow the searches to precisely what they are looking for.  But, for starters, that is a whole hell of a lot of information for a rather small cottage sized community hobby don't you think?

So, I guess the moral of this story is all of us (including myself) need to realize that there really isn't many secrets left out there, as you can find them if you know where to look.  I will say this however, there are some secrets that  the Internet just can't find, and for those I am willing to take my time searching them out with a good friend or my two kids, and like most things you only get out of things what you put into them.   My good friend Tommy summed it up rather well last week, "I need to be out there finding these places cuz it drives me to know that they exist, and exist not too far from me".

Many of us are all looking for that hot fly, hot piece of water or what have you, always striving to stay in front of that curve.  In actuality, everything is cyclical, almost like fads in clothing and design.  Heck, skinny jeans are in again, something I never quite understood when I was in high school let alone now.  I think the same can be said about fly patterns and fishing locales alike.  There has been a slight resurgence in wet flies and soft hackles in the last couple of years; euro nymphing has recently run it's course and like most who've been at this sport for a while would tell you, it is what it is, but the luster has sort of worn off.  I guess in the end, history repeats itself, and the only way to stay relevant or on top of things is to be ahead of the curve, but only if that's what excites you.  

In the end, there truly aren't too many secrets out there anymore, but I guess you really have to be mindful of who and how you share them if you run into any conundrums of your own.

Blog Archive