04/04/12

Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
Hatching:
1.    Blue-winged Olives and Little BWOs
2.    Blue Quills
3.    Quill Gordons
4.    Little Short Horned Sedges
5.    Little Brown Stoneflies
6.    Hendricksons & Red Quills
7.    American March Browns

Most available/ Near hatching and/or other types of available food:
8.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)

Is It Really "All About the Experience"?
I received an email that I thought was quite interesting. It was in reference to my article about
fishing reports written three days ago. I won't identify the person that sent the email because it
wasn't intended to be made public. Some anglers do like to pretend "it's all about the
experience" as a result of not catching fish. Personally, I think he is right on target with his
comments.

"I was reading your articles as I always do to help pass the time, and I always hear it from
purists about how "it's about the experience".
Of course fishing is about the experience,
but it's also about catching fish.
If it wasn't about catching fish, then why bring a rod and go
fishing? I believe that people that claim fishing is about the experience just suck at fishing and
are looking for an excuse as to why they didn't catch a decent number of fish or any fish at all.
The people stating that it is about the experience can usually be spotted holding and wearing
all the latest gear, but don't have a clue as to what they are doing let alone know how to cast
the expensive rod they're holding."

Now that I have written that and as you can see, agree with it, I feel I should also state that "the
experience" is certainly a big part of most any outdoor adventure. It most certainly is when it
involves a trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Neither I nor the guy that wrote the
email, whom I know fairly well, believe it's 100% all about catching fish. By the same token,
neither of us could ever feel good about not being able to catch as many trout as we would like
to. Call it anything you like but even though I have fished all my life and am currently in my
sixties, I still get upset when I am not as successful as I think I should be. If I really didn't care if
I caught fish or didn't catch fish, I wouldn't go to the trouble to carry a fly rod around with me. I
sure wouldn't go the trouble to put on a pair of waders. When I go fishing, my prime objective
is to catch fish.

Soon after I wrote the article, I left for a dreaded trip to Walmart to pick up some medicine the
doctors think I need. By the way, no one told those thousands of people that are currently
visiting Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the park that gas prices are high. Vehicles were bumper
to bumper as far as the eye could see. I have had to use the expressway around Pigeon
Forge for the last several days. When you do that, the only problem you have is a tendency to
speed. I guess only a few have figured out there is a fast way around town or maybe everyone
just wants to ride the strip. If you want to get the impression the economy is good, come to
Pigeon Forge. Although it's a completely false impression, and the economy actually sucks
otherwise, you will think things are booming. Dollywood puts in a new 26 million buck
roller-coaster and is building a new Dollywood in Nashville that will make that look like chicken
feed.

Getting back on subject, I was standing in line chatting with a man that was about 6 ft, 6 and
250 pounds. Since I had fish around my neck, on my shirt, on my belt and probably stamped
on my forehead, the conversation quickly lead to fishing and then to his many years of guiding
experience in Canada and northern Michigan. Of course, that's chasing pike, musky,
smallmouth and walleye mostly. He now lives in Gatlinburg where he owns a business. When I
asked him where he was originally from, he answered "I'm from the Smokies", paused and then
added "I'm really from the Smokies". He was born and raised in Cherokee and proudly a full
blooded Cherokee Indian.

When I mentioned this website to him, thinking he may have an interest in it, he looked me in
the eye and said
"fly fishermen are a different breed". I could only answer, "yes they are".
We had to depart to get our prescriptions but I intend to visit him at his business in Gatlinburg
and talk more fishing.

This is all a round about way of getting to the point I want to make.
Fly anglers are different
and one of the main reasons they are different is that they do tend to make "the experience" a
larger part of what it is all about than most other types of anglers. Many, like myself, are
beyond the competitive stage of the sport as well as the big fish only stage of fishing. It isn't all
to do with age. It's more to do with years of "having been there and done that". This is both
good and bad, depending on how you view it.
If you view fly fishing from an industry
standpoint, the route the sport has and continues to take is sharply headed
downward. If you view it from a personal, selfish standpoint, it is all well and fine that
fewer people are getting into fly fishing.

I wrote some time ago about almost getting into a fight with a idiot in Yellowstone National Park.
He interrupted our video shoot on the Lamar River and made it plain he didn't like anyone
promoting fly fishing in Yellowstone, be it magazines or videos. When I tried to be nice and
explain that we were working on instructional video teaching others to fish, even though the
goof ball was a school teacher, he condemned that. He stated "we don't want any more damn
fly fishermen in Yellowstone National Park". I won't get back off subject, even though just the
thought of the event makes me want to write about it. My point here is that
he represents the
selfish point of view.

Some Off the Wall, Rambling Thoughts
Just yesterday, I read a popular fly fishing blog article that pointed out the fly fishing industry
was headed downhill. He correctly pointed out that the number of young people getting into
fishing was declining each year. Although this is true of all types of fishing, it's even more true
of fly fishing.

That article falsely blamed most of the problem on the declining number of fly shops. He also  
blamed the declining numbers of fly shops on the "big box" stores and specifically named
Cabelas and Bass Pro Shop.  Although the writer is correct about the declining numbers, he is
obviously very biased about fly shops. He doesn't own one but it's clearly obvious he was
trying to impress others that did. The only thing I got from his article was like many others
involved with the fly fishing industry, he had his head stuck down in the sand up to his
shoulders. He can't see the forest for the trees.

The declining number of mom and pop fly shops isn't causing a decline in the number of
anglers getting into the sport. It's exactly the opposite of that. Declining numbers of anglers
are causing the number of mom and pop fly shops to decline. The fly shops were and still are
a big part of the problem. The approach they use, intensional or not, makes getting into fly
fishing appear to be overly complicated and expensive. They want to charge people for
teaching them a little about the sport and then turn around and empty their pockets by selling
them tons of overpriced gear to fish with. Students are made to think they have to completely
outfit themselves to match the guy or gal on the cover of Fly Fisherman magazine or
otherwise, they won't fit in. Put bluntly, the entire purpose of the fly fishing school put on by the
typical fly shop is to sell fly fishing gear.

The fishing industry is facing big challenges in general. Kids have their heads stuck inside an
every increasing number of new electronic gadgets. They don't have the time or any
motivation to get out of their house or car, much less waste their time standing in a stream in
the middle of the woods.

If your like the guy from Yellowstone and don't want more people getting into the sport of fly
fishing, your winning out hands down.

If your involved in the fly fishing industry, and particularly a fly shop owner, blaming the Cabela
brothers and Johnny Morris on your tough times isn't going to help you at all. I've got news for
you. They are nothing more or less than good people that have been very successful at doing
exactly what your trying accomplish. They are also faced with the same exact problem
everyone else in the fishing industry is faced with and that's a declining number of young
people getting into fishing as well as all other outdoor sports.
My advise to everyone in the
industry it to stop being jealous and stop the blame game.
The solution lies in getting
young kids involved with the outdoors. Each and everyone that loves the sport of fishing can
do exactly that is some way or another.

We are giving every Perfect Fly customer we can identify as a spring break student about half
again the number of flies they pay for. I go out of my way to offer to help any youngster in any
and every way I can. I certainly don't do it for profit. I seriously doubt I will live long enough to
see things turn around and the numbers of anglers increase, much less reap any profit from it.

Fly shops should be heading up free schools to teach anyone interested in getting
into the sport.
 To help get them started, they should come up with ways to get the
youngsters, or for that matter, an older man or women on a low fixed income or anyone on a
budget, a $20.00 fly rod instead of a $280.00 TFO fly rod or a $700.00 Sage One.

If Scientific Anglers, a highly praised manufacturer in the industry, can sell Walmart fly
rods/reels and line sets that Walmart sells for less than a $100.00 bucks, their CEO should
have a finger stuck in his face everyday until they agree to help, I'm not picking on 3M but if
they can sell a fly rod set to Walmart for about $40.00, and believe me I know what I am writing
about, they could help get kids on a budget into fishing  I can't believe they don't see they
would themselves eventually reap the benefits. The entire fly fishing industry should try to help
kids or anyone for that matter, get enough gear to get them started fishing any and every way
they can.
Guess what. Just about everyone that gets involved with any type of fishing
will probably spend more money than they should on tackle and gear.
Forest Wood,
Johnny Morris, Ray Scott and others proved that with the bass fishing market years ago. I'm
sure you have driven past plenty of mobile homes with a new bass boat and pickup truck
sitting in the yard. If you looked in the glove compartment you would probably noticed a
payment book as thick as a Sears and Roebuck catalog in it.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh