I'm donning my flack jacket as I type this. I'm clearing out my inbox, preparing for the flood of feedback to come. I may have to lock the "comment" button on this blog.
I've got a dirty secret to tell. But first, a little disclaimer.
I sell feathers. Mostly feathers for full dress salmon flies. Flies that require alot of time and dedication to tie well. I love tying those flies. But, I've come to a crossroads of sorts with my spare time. Do I pursue the tying, and neglect the research, and development of new product for my website? Do I tie fine classic flies to fish with and offer less colors of pigs wool? Arrrgggh!!!
These thoughts actually DO go through my head. You see, with a full time job, a family (currently expanding), and a website business, spare time is a precious thing. I'd rather fish when I've got spare time than tie pretty flies. I've found that the PIE that represents time in my life has got an awful lot of slices out of it. The biggest slice is my "real job", next is my family, then my website, then I have a whole bunch of little bitty slices that represent fly tying, fishing, hiking, canoeing, snowshoeing, hunting, lawn mowing, gutter cleaning (thankfully those last two are really skinny slices),etc.
So what does that have to do with the secret? I guess it's my way of justifying my crummy fishing flies. I like to catch fish, and I've found that simple flies catch fish. An old friend of mine proved that to me one day while I went fishless casting my superior (in my mind) "pretty" flies, and he just killed the fish with his ugly chenille and roadkill bugs. The light kinda went off in my head. "Hey, maybe I don't need pretty flies to catch fish?" . I resisted. I still had an abundance of free time at that point in my life. I tied some sweet flies, and fished them. I even caught fish on them. Fast forward a decade, and you find me sitting at the kitchen table cranking out some ugly crap at 10:00 pm the night before a fishing trip. "Good enough" will have to do. I even use alot of chenille (a material I hate) because it's fast, and still buggy. I'll omit fancy things like tips, tags and cheeks. I even use what I'd call "dirty" materials like crystal flash, rubber legs, beads, you name it. I'm not gonna preach purity here. When it comes to fishing flies my boxes are about as far away from being "pure as the wind driven snow" as you can get. In fact, I'd liken them to a smiley face pee'd in a snowbank by some drunk teenager.
"Why?" you might ask. Why would someone with access to some of the finest materials available tie such cruddy fishing flies? Well, if I had a choice, I'd probably still tie and fish my dirty flies. The reason why.....They work! Simple flies with flashy bits catch fish. I like to catch fish. That's why I fish. I'm not one who will ever stand on my soapbox and proclaim that I'm doing something special when I catch a fish. I just fish, and sometimes I catch. I don't care what anyone else does to catch their fish. As long as you feel good about what you are doing, then do it. I can appreciate a steelhead caught on a dry fly and enjoy fishing that way on the swing. I can appreciate the guy deep drifting a prince nymph under a thing-a-ma-bobber, and I do that sometimes too. I like to chuck spoons on drift gear for winter steelhead (talk about a "grab"). I really enjoy bait fishing for spring chinook too. It's all fishing and it's all good.
So as you make your way to your favorite water this winter and you see the guy chucking roe, and the boat pulling plugs, and the guy with a spey rod throwing an indicator in "your" run, embrace them. They're your fellow anglers. They're guys with little itty bits of pie called fishing time. They're guys not sitting in front of the TV on the couch, they all love to fish, and one of them might be me. I've got a dirty secret, and if your nice to me, I might share it with you.