Article By Jeff Wagner Illustration by David Soltess
Not usually one to follow trends, I don’t wear skinny jeans (they are slim fit) or plaid (the lumber-sexual movement is so yesterday). The trendy nature of our society can give a feeling of whiplash to the unsuspecting. One day we hear something is hot and the next day it is not. Of course, fly fishing is no different, from cleverly renamed bobbers (sorry, strike indicators) to the niche world of fly rods. Amidst all of this are single-hand spey rods and techniques.
Think of a stream or lake as a big sandwich. There is the slice of bread on top – the surface, the slice of bread on the bottom – the substrate, and the filling in between – the water column.
It is a game of trial and error, of countless trips, exhausting hikes and fishless days. But when it finally starts to pay off, you will have developed a unique relationship with the water and its inhabitants. It will elevate the notion of “home water” to a whole new meaning. And, such intimate connection to place and time in the natural world may well be the very essence of fly fishing.
Maybe what looking deep into the fly angler’s hierarchy of needs will do though is help anglers realize they are not alone in their passions and idiosyncrasies, that they may be misguided and lost in their pursuit, but in the words of the band Blue Rodeo, “If we are lost, then we are lost together.”
Beetles are recognized as terrestrial fare for trout, certainly, but we usually think of them as dry flies. Well, fly tiers are never satisfied with the status quo, regardless of the success of status-quo flies. Beetles wet are an excellent addition to any fly fisher’s tool box.
Maybe not as important as type of government or healthcare but at times equally disparate can be the debate over fly-line tapers. What is most interesting is the evolution of two diverging schools of thought on fly-line tapers. As they have diverged, they have come together in conclusion, but not in how they arrived at the conclusion.