We’re On The Same Team


I’ve never considered myself an authority on fly fishing but I’d like to think I’m pretty good at observation.


Stonefly Nymph

Photo: Rich Duda

One thing that I’ve noticed: This invisible stigma of how other people chose to fish. The private judgement of nymphers from the swing guys. The uppity laughs given to streamer huckers from bobber pros.

The alarming part of all of this is that its growing. The smugness toward opposite sects of fly fishing is becoming deeper and deeper . The first question to ask is, “why?”. Is it for the ever evolving social media fame that seems to be plaguing our precious pastime? The internet is flooded to massive proportions with fish porn of all kinds. Maybe it’s just that the accessibility is there, so why not, right? Would the old timers have done the same thing given the technology to be there? We see old photos of their accomplishments. We hear their stories of folklore and legend…


Photo: Justin Damude

So why the segregation? Maybe it comes down to competition. Maybe its pride. Maybe its just
that you’re doing it the one way that most others you know don’t. My area is notorious for this. Swinging a fly is now “mainstream” and if you’re not doing it that way you’re just not doing it “right”. It’s especially prevalent when the nympher comes along and cleans house when the swung fly just isn’t producing. I’ve even found myself doing it sometimes. The premature judgement when you see that Thingamabobber bouncing against the rod as they make their way towards your pristine run. “How dare this S.O.B come and muck up my run with that garbage. Why can’t he swing a fly like I’m doing?”

When I find myself doing that I nowadays try to stop and just let it go. Why do I have this sick sort of entitlement that I’m doing it better than the guy down the run? The thing of it is, I’m not. We that indulge in this awesome thing called fly fishing have get back to our roots.  Forget the guy down the run slinging a dropper rig or the guy upstream swinging intruders. Remind yourself that everyone has their own personal reasons why they fish the way they do.
What I’m saying is nothing new. It’s not some revolutionary idea. It’s simply a reminder that before you go wasting energy on something you can’t control, remember that the other guys and gals are out there to enjoy the same thing you are.



Photo: Rich Duda


By Timothy Pilarczyk


Rich Duda

About Rich Duda

Site admin. Obsessive angler. Cancer nurse.
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  1. Great point! I can recall a time when I was “judging” a friend of mine for his, what I considered, odd technique. But then, once I allowed myself to really think about what he was doing, I asked his to teach me. Low-and-behold I caught a monster not 3 minutes into fishing that same strategy – this, after being shutout for the past hour! Sometimes it really is about endgame (i.e., fish in the net) rather than the process – after all, that’s why we’re all out on the water, right?

  2. As I said in my book, There are those that will make fly fishing sound much more complicated than it actually is so they can appear to have a great deal more expertise than they actually have. For many, their way is the only way which, at least to me, just shows a lack of knowledge.

    Some consider the number caught as indicative of true expertise. Some consider “dry flying” as the only “true” fly fishing.

    What the vast majority don’t admit is that fly fishing is actually nothing more than “clean finger bait fishing” using a different delivery technique. Instead of grabbing a worm, or grube, getting our fingers dirty putting it on a hook, with a weight on the line to pull it down in the water, casting it one time, then waiting for something to grab it, we take fur an feathers, wrap them on a hook so it looks like bug, and spend a bunch of time casting and recovering while trying to convince the fish it’s real.

    For me, and I started in 1952, catching fish is actually secondary to the entire process. Perfecting the cast, needed under the circumstances, is the ultimate goal. Laying you line under some trees branches, so the fly travels around a big rock and lands in the still water behind it is the true joy, the fish grabbing it merely confirms you made the cast the right way, to the right place. The method of recovery is just getting the line back for the next great cast.

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