After the movie, “A River Runs Through It,” was released in October 1992, many people took up fly fishing. In fact, Montana issued over 40,000 more two-day, nonresident fishing licenses the next year. Likewise, the number of new fly fishers also increased during the COVID pandemic. Our own club had 78 new members enrolled over the two years of Covid pandemic. Accordingly, as a relatively new fly fisherman myself, I thought I would take a moment to share my learning perspective and experience, which is ongoing.
We all learn differently and are in different circumstances. Some of us have a lot of time to devote and others have very little. Some of us learn by reading and others by watching, listening, and doing. I would suggest finding what works for you as a starting point. For example, once I knew I wanted to learn to fly fish, I hired a guide for a half-day. As we got ready and put the rod together, tied, the fly, etc., we talked about each aspect of the process. We then went out and fished and after my first “tug,” I was hooked.
Since then, I have used a combination of fishing friends, guides, videos, and books to learn more. It helped me to first do it as that allowed me to better understand what I was seeing, hearing, and reading. One other thing that has helped me was fly-tying. It has brought a whole new level of understanding and enjoyment to me. It has particularly helped me better understand trout diets.
As for books and videos, there are so many choices that it can sometimes seem overwhelming. I really enjoy “The New Fly Fisherman” (www.thenewflyfisher.com) as well as videos and books by Tom Rosenbauer. If you go to You Tube and conduct searches you can find videos on every aspect of fly fishing, from tying knots to making dry-dropper rigs. You can also watch people fish anything, anyway, and anywhere, from trout to bonefish, Woolly Buggers to Parachute Adams, and the Savage River to the Florida Keys. Our club offers great resources to those who want to learn. I would encourage you to seek out a mentor and/or a fly-fishing buddy and just go fish. Along those lines, participate in or lead some outings. I have found a strong spirit of generosity in our club as well as among the broader fly- fishing community. Your fellow club members want to help and support you. And think about the process you have taken to learn your craft, career, or other skills and apply the lessons you have learned.
In closing, I thought I would share a quote from the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates. He said, “The life so short, the craft so long to learn.”
By Mike Holland