I have no problem with people who fly-fish for reasons unrelated to catching fish. The meditation. The rhythm. The communing with nature. These honest, unassuming people are not my concern. The people I disagree with—the people I’d like to drag down a river in concrete galoshes—are the zealots who insist that fly-fishing is not only the most righteous method of catching fish but also the most efficient. I have just one rebuttal to these claims: Are you high? These are probably the same people who spend dozens, (if not hundreds), [(if not thousands)] of dollars buying, tying and trading fake bugs that look like … get ready for it … actual bugs. News flash: the insects you’re trying to approximate? They exist in nature! And a shitload of them are big enough to be pierced by hooks! They’re called bait!
I know! Right?! Holy shit!
Sticking a bug on a hook is nothing new. Humans have been perfecting the art of fishing for 40,000 years—improving the system all along the way. Bare hands led to spears, spears led to bait, bait led to nets, nets led to… fly-fishing. Really? That’s your argument?
Fly fishing is the equivalent of undiscovering fire: most people are better off with fire, but a few feel special, so they choose to warm themselves by the heat of captured grizzly bears instead. It’s cool to trick the bears into providing heat! It’s a really rewarding challenge!
Sure, the grizzlies sometimes run amok and maim a few dozen people, but the satisfaction of tricking bears 3% of the time is worth the risk. Basically, people who use fire don’t respect heat. In my house, we only use catch-and-release bear-generated heat. Anything else is f$*king amateur. But I digress.
I fish to eat, and I really like eating trout. Therefore, it’s important to me that I actually catch something. Fly fishing produces an ROI somewhere between the U.S. Postal Service and Enron—which is ironic, since I’ll bet some of the people who profited from Enron now fly fish at expensive lodges around the world. They’re privileged enough to waste their time casting, rather than catching. It’s the ultimate statement of wealth, when you think about it … but I digress again.
Bait makes sense. It’s natural. It works. And it’s cheap as hell. Fly-fishing is complicated. It’s totally fake. It works … sometimes. And it costs a lot more than a can of garden worms. The answer seems pretty clear to me. But then, I’m just a lowly bait fisherman. [words] Drew Pogge [photo] Mike Horn