The evolutionary timeline of most fly-fishers probably has a few common points along the way. I'll tell you mine. Let's see if you can relate.
Back in the day, all of us most likely started out as bait fishers. Heck, fishing with fresh dug crawlers, crickets and minnows was sure fire! Slip one of them baby's on a crusty bait hook and hold on for dear life! Hundreds of bluegills, bass and bullheads fell to the tried-n-true bait 'n bobber routine. I mean hundreds! Down went the bobber, up went the rod, and those flippin' fish came clear out of the water and over the shoulder. It was all fantastic fun. But then...
Then...somewhere down the line, the ole' Zebco 77 just started to feel clunky, cheap and un-elegant. Why? The big-boys had started using something called open-faced spinning outfits and, man, were they classy! The boys were still throwing bait 'n bobber rigs, but they could throw them twice as far as my plastic spin-caster. I made a switch.
Then...my all-metal My-Buddy tackle box, although completely serviceable, just didn't hold the ole' magic it used to. It began to feel noisy, clanky and heavy and, strangely, it began to hold more crude flies and rubber-legged poppers than Jitterbugs, Spooks, or Lucky 13's . Even those few feather-dressed treble hooks (which at the time qualified as "flies"), started to look unauthentic. Even more strange, the tackle box started to seem gluttonous. I once had a friend with a tackle box ten times as big as mine just cram-packed with more lures, baits and rigs than he'd ever use in his and my lifetime put together. He could hardly carry it. I felt sorry for the bastard. He was trying to impress, but it just made me want to simplify. I made a switch.
For some reason bluegills, chubs and bullheads no longer held me. Don't get me wrong, I still fished for them. But I had discovered trout!
Then...I started to notice that I was swinging my new spinning rod back and forth furiously to help me get some distance with the new-tied flies and poppers I started making. I still tipped their hooks with bits of worm and cricket to seal the deal with the fish, but it started to bother me. The trouble is, it just wasn't cutting it. I couldn't get nearly the distance I needed and the bits of bait kept flinging off the fly. Besides, those bits of bait were once living things I was killing to satisfy my sporting ambition. "Living things". I made a switch.
Then...around that same time, my Grandfather suggested I start using a fly rod. I had seen them in magazines, but I'd always thought they were out of my league and purchasing power. He saw how I was now making flies and poppers and made the connection for me. So, I scraped together some allowance money and I made a switch.
Then...for some reason, the bluegills, chubs and bullheads no longer held me. Don't get me wrong, I still fished for them. But I had discovered trout. I also discovered that there were secret places to fish for trout nearby. I made THE switch!
It all makes sense to me now. I've heard it said that "The best way to know where you are from is to leave it". So, sure, I tried spinning outfits one last time. But, I knew then that "The Switch" I had made was for good and forever.
I have never turned back. - WES:::