Todd Tanner, writing for Hatch shares some hard earned insights with a list of five things help you get good at fly casting. Fly casting for beginners: 5 things you need to know to improve.
Guiding in the fall and winter is a challenge for me when it comes to comfort.
Here in Virginia, with its variable weather, planning a day on our spring creeks takes a little ingenuity. 35 degrees at 7 a.m. can swing to 60 degrees by 2 or 3 p.m. that same day. And add a little moisture to the equation and the gear bag starts to fill up.
I’ve got my suite of work-arounds, but it usually means I wind up taking more than I need for the day.
Here are some of the features that make it a standout:
- It stretches. That means it moves when I do. When I reach out with the net, having my jacket go where I go is very helpful.
- I can push the sleeves up. There are two times when this is especially helpful; when I reach into said net in the water and when the temp outside warms up a bit but I’m not ready to give up my coat.
- DWR fabric. That is Patagonia’s water repellent fabric finish. Sure, I look at the WX before every trip, and if it is going to be a deluge (read full rain gear) for the trip we will likely pass or dress accordingly. But ’round these parts showers, either rain or snow, pop up with little warning and that extra protection comes in handy.
- Abrasion resistance. Sometimes, you just have to push through the “pucker brush” to get where you need to be. And my fleece and Nano Puffs show it… A little “up-armoring” is welcome.
- Breathability, wicking and warmth. If you are active, and guides are, then you can work up a sweat. Wicking the moisture away and having breathable fabrics can really increase the comfort level at this time of year. Conversely, when you are standing around reading the tea leaves in a fly box or waiting for a fish to stick its nose up, having some insulation is plus, a big plus.
- A hood. Sure, it is called a hoody for a reason, and the hood comes in handy to regulate comfort. While my Kromer works fine, a little extra insulation for the neck and noggin sure is nice.
- Pockets. Four big ones. Two at chest level, big enough for fly boxes and two more at the waist for fly boxes or what have you. And they all zip.
The one thing I really like: Having my hemostats handy. The tool I use most often when I am guiding is my hemostat. While you can’t see it in the image I grabbed from Patagonia, there is a tab below the left hand chest pocket to attach a zinger or, in my case, keeping my hemostat securely at hand. Priceless.
One thing I would add: a zippered inside pocket.
Seems obvious doesn’t it. If you sell fishing tackle then you want people to buy it. People buy tackle if they think they will catch fish with it. If there are no fish to catch then you don’t sell tackle.
Logically then, the fishing tackle industry should be doing everything they can to protect and enhance the one commodity that makes it all possible, the fish.
But as you will see from Charles Witek’s excellent article, CONSERVATION IS GOOD BUSINESS FOR THE ANGLING INDUSTRY, that is not the case.
Inevitably, it comes up in conversation at some point. “How long have you been guiding?” Quickly followed by something related to “do you enjoy it?” or “is it hard?”
My pat answer is related to having been a guide and instructor for more than 20 years and fly fisherman for more than 50. Here is the thing, that answer is really not a very good one. It is time answer as opposed to an experience answer.
People, when they ask that question are not really asking about the length of time. They are asking about what they experience has been like. That got me thinking.
Guiding and being a fly-fishing instructor is an essential part of my life. In a lot of ways, it helps me manage the other parts of my life, like my job at the Marine Fish Conservation Network, or being a grandfather or a husband.
Here are some things about guiding that people deserve to hear when I answer that question.
• It’s fun, it really is. Sure, guiding is work and the pre- and post-trip stuff is a pain but when someone catches a fish or makes a good cast the smile on their face makes me smile. When we start laughing together because of pure pleasure the sport provides that is fun. Smiles equal fun.
• Working outside is a extraordinary opportunity. During most days, I sit in my office, looking at my computer. Working outside, especially in and around moving water is a much more enjoyable experience. There is much more sensory involvement, sights, sounds, smells and direct human and animal interactions. Doctors even prescribe it as “ecotherapy.”
• It is a teaching experience. Every guide trip and every class, I learn something. The guests and students expect me to help them the whether it is catching fish or learning to fish. But that is only half the equation, they have to be able to learn from me, and that is my responsibility. Teaching is tough but learning is harder. Being able to communicate in a way that allows people to succeed is my goal every time I offer instructions. But as fulfilling as it is to see someone succeed, the knowledge that I am learning at the same time is the big reward. And, more often than not, I learn something about myself.
• Practicing what I preach. Conservation of our natural resources is essential. It is what I do at the Network and what I believe to the deepest reaches of my soul. Having a chance to share that conservation ethic is a rewarding part of my guiding gigs. Talking about clean water and showing best fish handling practices like “Keep ‘em Wet” directly engages my guests and shows them why conservation is essential to a good fishing experience.
• Guiding has made me a better person, more patient, more understanding and more tuned into my surroundings. Truth be told those attributes have not always transferred to the rest of my life. There is some comfort in knowing that and realizing I have to do better. Perhaps that is the thing I like the most.
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