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December 28, 2014
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The bird whisperer


Split Kane, cousin to my Texas fishing buddy, Willy Landem, had been talking about folks like this. They take a quick course in fly casting, buy expensive equipment and hop in a drift boat wishing to catch large numbers of big trout. The doctor had mentioned that he owned a Sage and a Winston fly rod and already had been to Chile fishing for big browns and rainbows in the southern hemisphere. In the photo, he showed me he was wearing Simms waders. The doctor’s equipment was all top of the line. I wondered if he carried a “fish counter” so that he could keep score at the end of the day. “Split” opined that “so many new fly fishers are determined to go from tyro to expert in a week, missing all the starts and stops in between.”

I do not wish to offend any drift boat guides, but the only trip I ever took in a drift boat, fishing for trout, left me bored out of my mind. The guide was excellent, lunch was delicious, but I would prefer to fish off of my hind legs any day rather than passively sitting in a drift boat. I enjoy the feeling of the current pushing against my legs and the sensation of feeling the stones beneath my feet. I want to fish and explore a stream at my own pace, not that of a guide and his boat. I enjoy being immersed in the current. Plus, the wading fisher gets to observe events that folks in a drift boat miss. Can you catch fish, some of them big, from a drift boat? You bet you can. However, I would like to remind you of a quote from Thoreau, “Many men fish all of their lives never realizing that it was not the fish they were seeking."