8 Reasons Why You As A New To Fly Fisherman Should Join A Club
I still remember watching my dad up to his waist in a rushing Colorado stream casting flies for trout. I was too young for that kind of fishing (although at the age of six I had caught a trout off the bridge in front of our home, using a spinning reel and a worm).
It fascinated me to watch the glistening line whipping repeatedly back and forth over his head as he sought to get enough distance to put the fly where he wanted it.
The memory of the heavy strikes and the subsequent fights with lunker trout (that we ate that night) drove me to fly fishing later in life, but I took it up with certain amount of trepidation.
I have to admit I was somewhat intimidated. Fly fishing took a lot of skill, I thought. More that I felt I had.
JUST A LITTLE MORE SKILL?
Arguably, fly fishing takes just a little more skill, or “know-how”, as my dad might put it, than other forms of fishing.
Matching up your equipment is just the beginning, learning to cast takes practice, not just to get familiar with how the reel works as it spools off line, but to gain the dexterity to place the fly where it needs to go — to drop it right in front of a lunker you suspect is lying in a pool behind that big rock.
Then comes fly tying — not really necessary — but a skill that puts you miles ahead of the fisherman that buys flies off the shelf, who can’t “match the flies to hatch”, or create them “on the spot”.
More skill than you or I possess, you may ask? No, not necessarily. Not if you find and associate with the right people, those who already possess the skills, and are more than willing to impart them to you.
A SOLITARY SPORT?
At first glance, fly fishing seems a solitary sport. While you might see more than one fly fisherman wading in a stream or a lake, they appear to be pretty isolated from one another, not exactly like a bunch of golf buddies pulling a cart and shooting above par.
The fact is that that individual fly fisherman probably has a lot of “back-up” contacts and friends; you just can’t see them because they’re all part of the club he belongs to.
He as acquired many of his skills by associating with other people.
WHY JOIN A CLUB?
In our busy schedules, clubs take time away from other things we probably should be doing. In many cases, clubs are time wasters, put together by people who have an obsession with following “Robert’s Rules of Order”.
Fly fishing clubs, however, are close to a necessary item on the fisherman’s menu — that is if he also wants to include fish on that same menu.
There are many reasons for joining a club. By associating with enthusiastic fellow fisherman at a higher (and lower) experience level than your own, you can
— discover more about your equipment.
— learn how to choose rods, reels, line, and gear.
— hone your basic skills. Get tips about such things casting, fly selections and determining “where the fish are” in a variety of environmental situations.
— learn how make equipment. Maybe you’d like to make your own fly rod from a blank or discover what equipment and materials you need to tie flies.
— uncover the best places to go to catch fish. Fly fishermen will divulge these things to friends they respect.
— plan trips and vacations. A fishing trip is not a trip unless you take people you like and are as enthusiastic as you are.
— help those less experienced. It’s always good to impart what you know. It’s said that a teacher best learns his own craft by teaching others.
— experience the camaraderie that comes with getting together with like minded enthusiasts.
TYPES OF CLUBS
Fly fishing clubs can be national, regional, local, or ones that are strictly internet based. Many cater to beginners or focus on fly tying or other techniques.
Three notable National Clubs are
— Federation of Fly Fishers
— International Women Fly Fishers
— Trout Unlimited
These clubs are dedicated to education and preservation of cold water species and habitats, and are great for educational opportunities.
Regional and local fly fishing clubs such as those indigenous to your state or city may provide a little more of the camaraderie you’re looking for, as well as information that you can apply to waters you’ll find where you live.
Internet clubs may be fun to join as well. You can post to forums and get tips by internet messenger or email.
Clubs you can find in your city or neighborhood may be the best for getting the kind of “hands on” experience you’re looking for. Check with your local bait and tackle shops for information on what’s available, and if you can’t find one, start one. Those same bait and tackle shops will jump at the chance of posting fliers for you and recommending their customers.
NO LONGER ALONE
Each type of club caters to a different need, and you might find it beneficial to join more than one. By doing so, you’ll find you’re not alone.
Even if you’re out in the stream by yourself, you’re surrounded by your friends in the club. When you see that fish rise, when it slams into your fly, your ears will ring with their enthusiastic support —
“Now, don’t horse him in, give him his head!”
“Keep your line tight.”
“Okay, now he’s tired, you can start bringing him in.”
“Keep your rod tip up.”
“ALL RIGHT, NICE ONE! HOW BIG IS HE? I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT”
No, with your new-found club friends, you’re definitely no longer alone.