An Observation

22 03 2015

Tug is the Drug

I spent the better part of this past weekend helping my friends out at their gun show.  Dean and Barry have been putting on this show a couple times a year for quite some time now.  I usually sit at the front and collect the fees and check the firearms coming in that people are trying to sell.  It can be fun but it can also be a drain.  Sitting there for 7 hours and answering the same question over and over can really wear on you.  Once the show ended at 5 I thought I would go down to the lower Huron river and practice my swing casting some more.  I am heading up to Oscoda next weekend to work on my boat and get a little steelhead time in.  I wasn’t expecting to catch anything, I just needed to practice and de-compress a bit.

I walked around for a bit before I got set up and checked the water levels and to see if anyone was catching anything.  I wanted to try a specific spot so I walked there first.  On my way I saw another fly fisherman in the stream spey casting as well.  I watched for a bit, checking to see how he was handling the faster current.  After a few minutes I continued on and saw the spot I wanted to fish was open so I went back to get rigged up.

I put on my Orvis waders and Simms boots.  Next I rigged up my Ross Reach Rod and Ross Reel.  Now this may look like a shameless plug but I need to mention this so I can make my point.  I pulled one fly out of my box and made my way back downstream.  As I was walking by I was getting peculiar looks from the people fishing.  The same people that paid no attention to me before were now staring at me.

What changed?

I thought for a second and then realized what it was.  I had transformed into the embodiment of something I swore I would never become.  A walking billboard for Orvis and everything that I thought was wrong with fly fishing.  Fishermen that are more concerned with appearance than actually fishing.  I hadn’t changed but now I was on the other end of the stares.  I remember my first time ever steelhead fishing on the lower Huron 30 years ago.  I was the kid with the spinning rod not knowing what he was doing, being judged by the “pro’s” that knew what they were doing.  I remember looking at those guys with contempt as they fished with all their “fancy” gear while all I had was my Ugly Stick.  Now 30 years later it is the other way around.  I’m the “fancy snob” and they were the every day Joe fisherman.  Again, what changed?  I’m still the same person but because I wasn’t fishing the same way everyone else was I was now that walking billboard I swore I would never become.  I blew it off and went about my business.  I waded in and started my casting.  The current was faster than what I have been on so far but I was able to figure it out and actually get some distance with my roll casts.  I also learned a few things about reading the water and getting the drift right.  After about half an hour I was headed back to my car.  Again I got the stares and they were probably thinking, “Oh look, Mister Big Shot with his fancy rod didn’t get anything either”.  Whatever.

Before I left I walked upstream towards the dam to check things out.  There was one guy floating spawn so I asked him if he caught anything.  I got a resounding “NO”.  What the hell?  Do I have a big sign on me that says I’m a jerk, don’t talk to me?  When did it get like this?  When did fishing become so divided.  It’s fishing, a common bond amongst sportsmen and women.  I just don’t get it.  Granted you are going to have undesirable people in every type of outdoor activity but why here?  Fishing was supposed to be a common ground for all people.  We are all after the same thing, to feel that tug and watch that fish run.  It shouldn’t matter how we catch one whether it be by floating spawn, drifting a jig, back trolling a plug or swinging a fly.  It’s fishing, PERIOD.  I don’t know why it is like this and unfortunately I don’t know how to change it.  I know posting the cartoon doesn’t help the situation but I thought it was funny.  It helped to prove my point though.  People out there actually think this way.  People can fish any way they want as long as it is legal.  End of Story.

Off my soapbox now.

Back to the vise, sculpin patterns today.



6 responses

23 03 2015
Larry E.

Mark you went from a river rat to a poster boy for fly fishing, its like fishing out of an old aluminum tub to a ranger walleye boat. Jealousy is what it boils down to if you can afford it and its your passion go for it, I know it sure don’t put more fish in the freezer. Putting time in to study and the waters you fish is better than top notch gear. Sometimes that’s hard to do if you want to show off your stuff near the crowds. I’ve learned how to read what waters hold fish by covering alot of the river which is easy in a boat over the last couple years. Some of the best water to fish the huron you’re going to be away from the masses. Also the huron is one tough river, depending on how high the water is changes it dramatically where the fish are. It only takes 8 to 10 inches and fish move to different parts of the river or shut off completely. Good luck and hope you get a few steelies before the Detroit river heats up.

23 03 2015

Thanks Larry. Trying to read the water and find those “couch” areas out of the current is the hardest part. I’ve found out that just because it may look slow on top isn’t necessarily the case below. That sinking tip attached to a floating line does all kinds of crazy things. I can only imagine where my fly is below the surface. I’ll figure it out. I have time. I don’t plan on chasing walleye until mid April anyways.

24 03 2015
Larry E.

I’ll have to see how you do your type of fly fishing and get you on the river in some better areas. Only thing I can do is show you where I’ve caught fish and you’ll have to tell me how to position the boat so you can cast. I think it’ll be educational for both and maybe land a few too.

24 03 2015

Sounds good to me.

29 03 2015

ha, poster boy. You should see the looks ive gotten while fishing in Camo neoprene boot foot waders with an Orvis Bamboo rod. They really arent sure what to think. Im an outcast from both sides.

29 03 2015

Rev. Maclean would be very disappointed in you…..

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