Why the fly is this happening?

If anyone has really read this blog more than once, it would be easy to conclude most of my fish wrangling has been done with the old rod and reel, the caster of baits, and rods with butts stiffer than...(I got nothing here)

Anywho, this past spring a friend of mine asked what I thought about fly fishing. My short answer was, "Always wanted to learn, but it sure looks hard." Before I knew it, we were in a field by mi casa and I was listening to a self-taught bug slinger direct me on the fundamentals. Before too long, I had line flying a good fifty feet or so and laying down relatively straight – by straight, I mean if a person was to take a field sobriety test and take the same path as my line, he would probably be going to jail but at least he wouldn't be walking in circles. Not much longer after starting this first and only lesson, our fingers were numb and our boogers were frozen - end of the lesson, but he said “hold on to this rod and learn with it.”

Throughout the year, the weather got warmer and the fish started biting. Whenever the chance arose to get out there, my time was limited and I continuously found myself trusting in what I knew better. Sure, I would bring the fly rod every so often and I would even give it a whip or two back and forth only to ultimately pick up what I knew better.

Just the other weekend, a friend of mine and I went to go chase some steelhead in some of the Lake Michigan tributaries. Once again, I brought the fly rod along with my conventional gear. This time however, I found myself more interested in wanting to sling some flies. I had a white bunny-like fly that was really meant for some pike/bass action but I intended to tie on an egg sucking leech once we reached the stream. Unfortunately, once I was steam side, I realized that I had left my fly box in the truck which left me feeling very disappointed. I found this odd; what was happening? Not wanting to waste too much time by making the long trek back to the truck, I decided to float some spawn instead. Eventually, I said screw it and grabbed the fly rod. Even though I didn't have the right fly for the job, I didn't care; I wanted to cast that fly rod and so I did. I think I spent a good hour doing so before we ended up changing locations.

Once we arrived at our new spot, I grabbed the fly rod and my egg sucking leeches. This was it, no spinning gear, no bait casters, no spawn, no lures; it was just me, my borrowed 8-weight, and a couple of flies . I spent the next forty-five minutes fishing with something unfamiliar to me. Strangely, I enjoyed it. What is it about this “fly fishing” thing that is so addictive once you really give it a try? I didn't catch anything and quite frankly, I don't know if I did anything right but I found myself becoming obsessed - fly tying kits, fly fishing combos, fly fishing videos, it didn't matter. I was looking at this stuff like a sex addict looks at porn. What flies for what fish? What line weight for pike, bass, steelhead, kings? Floating or sinking line? I can't stop thinking about it. 

What is happening to me?! 


  1. It is addictive and great stuff, even when you don't catch...I think that's part of the appeal.


  2. Ah we gotcha! Welcome to the club. Everybody knows fish eat worms and chase lures. Fly fishing is challenging you to find what the fish are currently snacking on and making the fly look and act real. Don't sweat not catching anything for a bit, dumb luck will catch up to you and you'll find that blind hungry guy that accidentally hooks himself while swimming past.

    By the way, I love the new look and those photos are great!

  3. @Clif - Thanks. I have to admit that I am quite excited to catch something on the fly. As much as I am NOT into pan fish, I think I would be very happy catching one!

    @Dan - Some of the Cali bass would be a BLAST on a fly rod! How are you liking it out there?

    @Howard - Thanks. I wanted something that looked a bit more rustic, yet modern. I also wanted to draw more attention to the "comment" link to encourage more people to interact. So far it seems to be working - I hope it sticks! I honestly will probably spend most of winter time fly fishing. I have never had a ton of luck in the winter with lures. I can honestly see the finesse of the fly being a much better approach.

  4. I love fishing in anyway (well, practically any way) but fly fishing is my favorite, i can't get enough! Tying flies and building rods is a blast too!

  5. "That's good. You have taken your first step into a larger world."
    - Obi-Wan Knobi

  6. @Blake - I can see myself getting into both of those!!

    @James - Let's get some pike next year and do it on the fly. I'll leave everything else at home.

  7. Since I picked up a fly rod it's been really hard to put it back down. Great post!

  8. Ha ha. I fly fished in the mountains of NC when I lived there, and gave it up when I moved to Maryland.

    And then just picked it up again in 2011, 14 years later!!!! Welcome to the club, now let's spend some money!!!!

  9. Don't get hung up on the details.
    It's just another delivery method.
    These aren't trout, there's no need to be subtle.
    There was no reason you couldn't have put a spawn sack on and floated that through some holes.
    Out on the Apple River, I've caught creek chubs then turned around and put them on a hook. Chucked them out there on the fly rod.

    I've got friends that can help you.

    Don't ever get or try to use sinking line unless you enjoy being frustrated. Besides, it's pretty unnecessary.

    I had two fly tying kits and a huge box of material and never tied a fly. I have the skill, but not the patience. Instead I oooh and aaaah over my friends creations, tell them how great they look, and they hand them out like candy on Halloween. :D :D

    (I know, I double posted. Should have come here first).

  10. @Ken - I actually just read an article somewhere about using non-traditional flies on a fly rod. Talks of rubber worms, minnow baits, and others were quite common. I like the idea of mixing the two methods.

    (Just to keep up the pattern, I too double posted)

  11. Maybe i'm going out on a limb here and I dont want to sound like a purist fly angler becouse i'm not. But, casting plastic baits and bait on a fly rod is not fly fishing. Fly line is your delivery in fly fishing, vs. lure wt in conventional. Both have there place, but both are totally different. If fly fishing interest you then catch a fish on a fly. A fly rod is not an effecient way to present anything other than a fly. Start wih a floating line and branch out. Fish with someone who has some knowledge and you'll find it's a ton of fun. There are times when it isn't the best application and conventional is the way to go. Sinking lines put hundreds of fish in my boat every year and they will also become part of your game. Have fun with it.

  12. Thanks for the feedback, David. It's definitely a valid argument. I found that link that I was referring to earlier. I love that they think out of the box.


  13. Heh, that's how its done. Don't take any conventional gear with you...just the fly rod. And by God if you want to catch a fish, it's gonna be on a fly.

    Before long the conventional stuff will just seem strange :)

  14. "What is happening to you?"

    obsession is taking hold

  15. I think it is! Let's go catch some WI brownies


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