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Old 10-09-2005, 09:06 AM
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Default Why Don’t More People Fly Fish? - by Pat Damico

[img2="left"]http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=178&stc=1&thumb=1[/img2]Why Don’t More People Fly Fish?

By Capt Pat Damico – The Fly Guy

One of the comments frequently heard when discussing fly fishing with either a group or an individual is represented by the title of this article. “Why don’t more people fly fish?” And to me it comes as a genuine surprise that when out fishing our Florida waters, seeing someone using a fly rod is a rarity. Conversely, in the Keys, it is very common sight.

Even members of our local fly fishing clubs reveal that many primarily use more conventional tackle, and infrequently go to the long rod. There are exceptions of course, but frankly this phenomenon is difficult for me to understand.

In spite of these conclusions, saltwater fly fishing has become the fastest growing segment of our sport. Why? Because frankly -- it’s fun!

Living in coastal Florida, where most have access to great shallow water estuaries, why do so few take advantage of this resource? They spend Saturday mornings in front of a TV, loving every minute --watching someone else do what is in reality, just minutes away from their door.

Unlike the many other sports that we love to watch, but can’t participate in, saltwater fly fishing is available to anyone who can hold a fishing rod.

So, if location is not a factor, what else contributes to this dilemma?

“I tried it but wasn't successful.” What does this mean?

If this person is not a successful inshore fisherman with conventional tackle, taking up fly fishing will definitely not improve his success. That’s why most experts will tell you that fly fishing without previous successful fishing experience is destined to fail. The only possible exception would be if every trip was with an experienced guide.

Thus, you can conclude that knowing how to catch fish conventionally is a prerequisite to fly fishing success.

Knowledge of fish habits, location, tides, and stealth on the water should be the established basis for successful fly fishing. Whether you wade-fish, paddle-fish or use a skiff is really irrelevant if you are satisfied with your degree of fishing success. The fact of the matter is that many beginning fly fishers really enjoy the challenge of a new approach. And somehow, this ancient angling art is very compatible with nature, solitude, scenery, fellowship, and relaxation.

Age is not a deterrent. Some of our very best fly casters are in their early teens or senior citizens. Knowledge made you a good conventional fisherman. Now you can take that experience to the next level.

Where can one learn to start fly fishing? Just head to your local fly shop -- preferably a place that specializes in this pursuit. They should have the knowledge and equipment available to get you on the right track and accelerate your learning curve.

Find an instructor who is a good listener and will not talk down to you. I have seen inept fly fishing teachers act like a cold shower to someone who was enthusiastic about getting started. Explain your concerns, and be certain they are addressed.

By the way, if their conversation begins with a $650.00 fly rod, head for the door! Improvements in technology have made some entry-level rods, reels, and fly lines that are really great and quite affordable.

I began at a young age with hand-me-down equipment, but a few patient adults were willing to share their experience with me and create an atmosphere of understanding that helped me get started.

Our area has two great fly fishing clubs that meet monthly, Suncoast Fly Fishers, and Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club. Here you will find equipment in your price range, free fly casting clinics, as well as books and videos that you can take home to continue your learning experience. An hour before their formal meeting, which usually includes a speaker, qualified casting instructors will help you with anything you want to know about fly fishing, using the club’s equipment. A lending library of books and videos, discounts on equipment, and monthly fly fishing trips to area waters are just a few other benefits of membership. Someone will usually be tying flies and willing to suggest patterns for your particular needs. Many members would likely invite you to be their fishing partner. Their reason for joining was to learn, just like yours. To find a club in your area, go to www.fedflyfishers.org, or check out this site.

Use your back yard to practice casting. Every evening after dinner, take out your fly rod for a twenty-minute session. Frequent practice will allow your muscles to develop memory and you should feel more comfortable after a while. And remember -- a good caster seems to perform with minimal effort. You will eventually.

Once your casting ability improves, leave that conventional tackle at home. Devote all your time and energy to this new pursuit. Your first fish with a fly rod will be a memorable experience. I can assure you that once you begin to reap the benefits of this sport, you will understand a wonderful dimension of fishing you never knew was there.

Article Courtesy of
Capt. Pat Damico – “The Fly Guy” www.captpat.com
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Old 10-09-2005, 12:16 PM
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Default Re: Why Don’t More People Fly Fish? - by Pat Damico

Thomas & Thomas 9' #5: $600
Galvin reel (that is simplicity itself): $250
Fly Line: $55
3-pack of leaders: $10
Tippet: $5
Waders: $150
Boots: $80
Float Boat (that does 0-1 mph in 2 days): $350
a cup of flies (the size of a ketchup container at McD's) to fish Lee's Ferry: $50
Hours of PRACTICE trying to cast more than 25' with out tailing your loop: $??? OR>>>>>>>>>>>>>

really good rod at WalMart: $55
Abu Garcia Bait Caster: $90
300 yards of Triline: $12
Rubber Worms, Crank Baits, Hooks and Wieghts, ect. : $80 (over time)

No need to worry about back cast. able to learn to cast your rod in a couple of hours, and all the help you will ever need or want in any book, magazine, sporting good store, bait shop, coffee house, or on the water.

Lets face it fellas, Fly Fishing is Expensive, Time consuming, and Tough to Learn. Any kid can pick up a Zebco and a can of worms and fish all day and catch fish.

Oh yea, I would rather catch one fish on a fly than ten on a spinner, but that is not the attitude of most people who fish.
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Old 10-11-2005, 01:17 PM
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Default Re: Why Don’t More People Fly Fish? - by Pat Damico

Andy has a point... to some extent. No doubt fly fishing, for the most part, was once considered an elitist sport. Gear was expensive. Fortunately, the prices are dropping. They're not rock bottom... but they're definitely coming down. We're talking about quality gear also. You don't have to have the Thomas & Thomas or the Sage fly rod... You don't have to have the Galvan reel. Sure... they're top of the line. The utmost in quality and cosmetics. But fly fishing does not have to be that expensive.

A more realistic scenario for the budget minded fly angler would possibly be...

ECHO 9' #5: $130
Stone Creek reel: $42
Fly Line: $35
3-pack of leaders: $6
Tippet: $5
Waders (breathable): $90
Boots: $50
Float Boat (do you really need one?): $350
a cup of flies (the size of a ketchup container at McD's) to fish Lee's Ferry: (try the flydealflies.com)
Hours of PRACTICE trying to cast more than 25' with out tailing your loop: $??? Yea... maybe so.

Now... its probably a good thing fly fishing is not much cheeper that this. Let's keep the faint hearted out of our way.
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Old 10-12-2005, 03:24 PM
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Default Re: Why Don’t More People Fly Fish? - by Pat Damico

you are correct in your evaluation of my price list. you don't need to have the best stuff, but like anything else, the more you get into it, the better quality stuff you need (read as "want"). Getting a cheaper rod and a less expensive reel is ok to get itnto the sport, but remember that one tends to keep upgrading as one goes. So instead of buying the top end Sage to start, beginners will do exactly what I did. Buy the Walmart rod, then the Cabelas, then the mid level St. Croix, then the T&T. So we spend $500 BEFORE we spend $600 to buy the rod(s) we use.
My true point was this, Flyfishing is misunderstood as an "elietist" sport, when it really is only a specialty sport. It's not really elietist at all! Although it attracts them, but then so does bass fishing. The problem (for lack of a better word) of getting more folks to try this type of fishing is really people only have enough time to do a few things in life. I would love to be an expert fly caster, wing shot, able to hit targets at a 1000 yards own a bassboat, consitantly hit the bullseye ay 60 yards with my bow, and play with my daughter. But in truth I can only do a few of these things and really only do one well. I fish better than I hunt, and I love catching fish on a flyrod more than anyother way. I spend my recreational dollars on fly fishing. Because I do, (and I am in the Army) I will never own the 20' Stratos Bass boat and have to get within 30 yards of an elk before I let an arrow go. Some folks are gifted and fortunate enough to be able to do ANYTHING they want, but most of us are not. Where does the average joe/jane go fishing?
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Old 10-19-2005, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: Why Don’t More People Fly Fish? - by Pat Damico

Very pleased with the response to my article. For instruction, I use a TFO rod, Cortland reel, and Rio line. This whole package new is very affordable. Our fly fishing club has a swap every year where excellent used equipment is available. Ebay and newspaper ads are another source. Entry level rods, with a guarantee, will perform better than a novice caster. I have seen many people with very expensive equipment perform poorly, and beginners with proper instruction do wonders with basic gear. Yes, it does take commitment, but has many rewards.
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Old 10-21-2005, 12:19 PM
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Default Re: Why Don’t More People Fly Fish? - by Pat Damico

The one thing that people don't understand about the fly gear is that if you maintain all you gear it can last many years. I'm working of a rio line from 4 years ago. For me personally I have turned 4 of my best friends from the spin to the fly. I can't wait till I get some kids (years down the road) and pass the fun down to them!
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