Reading an article by Tom Travis, titled Tradition got me thinking about the many habits, traditions, and prejudices we exercise in this sport.
While I believe it is good to honour those who have paved the road for us, I do not suggest that we take everything said as the gospel.
I was fortunate, although I did not see it at the time, when I was introduced to fly fishing; to be set on a road, which at that time was much less travelled.
In those days before VHS we did not have the instant answers provided over the Internet, or the visual aids of video discs. There were books available, but the long-winded prose was about as exciting to a 13-year-old boy as the old King James Bible.
So much of my early fly fishing was learned by trial, error, and what could be gleaned from the men I watched stoically casting from their boats.
As chance would have it, I did get to take a fly-fishing class in the fall of 1973. As archaic as those lessons were by today's standards it was a positive step forward. Soon after, the acquisition of a car and a regular pay check, allowed for even better learning opportunities.
Frustration became the teacher who in the mid 80s drove me back to books, which by this time were easier to read.
The early 90s I had become an accomplished fly tier and rod maker. During that decade I was asked to instruct for youth fly fishing club, teach fly fishing for adult education programs, and inspired to pioneer Fraser Valley High School Fly Fishing Championships.
Next on the list was this weekly column, first published just before Y2K.
Did I have all the answers? Certainly not, but I did years of trial and error, which had brought me to a place where I was catching fish consistently.
When asked by my administrators what I would teach in my night school classes, I asked myself: "Of all the things I have learned over the past 30 years, what would have helped me most when I started out?"
Over the next series of columns I will endeavor to share my thoughts on the habits, traditions, and prejudices I have seen displayed within this sport.
Our Lower Mainland lakes are fishing fair to good. Try a slow troll or retrieve, close to shore: Bloodworm, Chironomid, Zulu, Wooly Bugger, Wooly Worm, Big Black, Doc Spratley, or Baggy Shrimp.
The Fraser River sloughs and backwaters are good for cutthroat and dolly varden. For cutthroat, try: Rolled Muddler, Professor, Anderson Stone, Black Stone, Zulu, American Coachman, Flesh Fly, or Chez Nymph.
A fly fishing instructor and outdoor writer, Jeff has fished the area since the early 1970s. Contact him at fishingnewsman@ gmail.com