View Full Version : Competitive trout fishing

Jim Casada
09-26-2009, 12:00 PM
I'm curious as to how other forum members feel about fly-fishing competitions. As this is being written the second Rumble in the Rhododendrons competition (and no matter what I think otherwise, that's a great title for the event) is under way.
It involves $10,000 in prize money andit would appear almost all the participants are in their 20s and 30s. One of the competitors, and a member of the N. C. Fly Fishing team, Eugene Shuler, is a guy from Bryson City whom I know slightly. He's quoted in an AP release to the effect that if we don't use this competitive approach to get youngsters involved the sport will die.
I don't see much evidence of that "death," given the fact that there are far, far more angles in the Smokies now than there were in my youth (and beyond). Eugene suggests that a lot of older anglers (and I fall into that category) just don't understand, and good or bad you can count me in their number.
He mentions camaraderie and improvement as by-products of competitions, but I'll take my camaraderie around a campfire at day's end and my learning by fishing alongside a master or through ongoing study in the school of the outdoors.
Maybe it's a generational thing, but I for one am troubled to see the sport easing in the direction of all the hype and hoopla of B. A. S. S., the FLW circuit, etc.
Mind you, it isn't totally new--the one-fly competition out West has been around for years. I was asked to participate in that a couple of times and politely declined. I'm as competitive as the next guy, I believe, but I like for the competition to be between me and the trout, and I measure success or failure not so much in terms of inches of trout caught but in the totality of the experience. I can guarantee that folks flailing away with dollar signs in front of them aren't going to see things like the brilliance of staghorn sumac berries in a field alongside a stream, the glories of cardinal flower blooming amidst a sandbar, monarch butterflies fluttering atop the bloom cluser of Joe Pye weed, on the lovely purple of wild asters and ironweed blooming.

They won't notice a buckeye at stream's edge and recall how it's a mountain symbol of good luck if you carry one in your pocket, and they won't hear or heed September's sweet song in the form of katydids and grasshoppers filling the air with their voices or a "Lord God bird" (pileated woodpecker) uttering its eerie cry as it flies from one tree to another. Nor will they give a fussy kingfisher zipping down the creek in full cry a second thought, any more than they will notice the geometric beauty of water spider shadows reflected in a sunny spot. To me these things are part and parcel of the fly-fishing experience.

Now, someone explain to me this fixation with catching the most and the biggest for dollars and offer insight on just how it fits the sport's tested and true traditions. Obviously I'm a curmudgeon in need of some education.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

09-26-2009, 12:43 PM
Jim, I am very glad to hear you opinion of trout fishing for money. I agree with you 100+ %. I know Eugene, we used to work for the same employer. His remarks really don't surprise me, he was and maybe still is in the retail business related to fly fishing. I don't measure the days success in terms of number of or lenght of trout caught. I really believe that if someone only uses these to judge his /her day on the stream they are missing the whole point. I'm not nearly as good as you are in describing the beauty I see in and around the stream but I know you and I appreciate it equally. I can remember,many years ago,camping at Poke Patch for 5-7 days and never seeing a sole.......bet you can't do that now.
I REALLY hope that fly fishing doesn't become simply a matter of dollar and cents !!!
THANKS JIM for putting this into words for the both of us

09-26-2009, 12:54 PM
Some folks are competitive in everything they do. Me, not so much. I have a problem with this concept personally for a couple of reasons:
I would probably be looking at dumping a lot of entry fees with no ROI. I'm just not good enough to risk any amount of money beyond what I put into license, equipment and gas.
More importantly, competitive fly fishing would defeat the whole purpose for me. Whether I'm by myself or fishing with a buddy, I tend to go into a safe bubble while I'm fly fishing that makes the rest of the world disappear for a while. I can get totally lost in the moment while I'm on a stream and I can't imagine anything that would spoil that more than worrying where I am placing in terms of other fisherpersons in a competition. Just seems counter-intuitive to the whole experience for me.
So, enjoy the competition, tell me how you did and I'll tell you how much I enjoyed my day. :smile:

09-26-2009, 02:33 PM
As you said Jim, I like the competition to be between me and the trout. My opinion on competitive flyfishing-may the trout win.

09-26-2009, 03:12 PM
This is a bit of a self-indulgent, rambling post. Please forgive; you've been warned. ;-)

I'd ditto what has been said and add the following:

a) Well said, Jim. Very, very well said.
b) I look at it this way: it's not really doing anything to "save" the sport, because it's <i>not the same sport</i>. At least it's not the same sport in which I participate. I'm somewhat competitive with the people with whom I fish, but only to the extent that we feel like the guy who catches more fish is fortunate to have had such a great day. So that's more jealousy than competition, really. I pray my boys learn to love the sport the same way I did, not because there's money on the line. There are PLENTY of other places in life where that's true.
c) To me, there's so much tradition in so many outdoor sports. I can't fish or hunt without thinking about my late father and how he might have approached a stream, field, trail, whatever. I can't go without thinking about how cool it is that there are still places like the park that are so pristine and unspoiled by man. I can fish the way my dad did in the places he did. Fishing for prize money would sap all that out of my experience.
d) I'm going to sound like a bit of a bleeding heart here, but having a contest at the expense of the fish feels a bit disrespectful to the animal. I have always been taught that you eat what you harvest. I realize this is catch and release, and I practice that ethic with trout fishing too, but something about exploiting the fish for a purse just feels wrong to me. I wish I was as articulate as Jim and could put my finger on it. Others may disagree, but suffice it to say that's just how I feel.
e) All that said, It's really none of my business how people come to love outdoor sports. Mind you I don't think this is the same outdoor sport, no matter how similar it may appear, in which I participate. But if folks want to cast for cash, I'm secure enough in my approach to my version of the sport to shrug and move on. There is, however, one caveat...to those who would choose to compete, PLEASE don't turn the secluded streamsides and backcountry haunts into the circus you'd see at the B.A.S.S boat ramps by hanging banners from the rhodo's and blasting loudspeakers into the forests with people's weigh-in results. That'd be more than I could handle.

09-26-2009, 04:49 PM
I am gonna have to agree with you guys. I don't like any form of competitive fishing. It just another way for these so-called "guides" to give themselves an ego boost. I've read on a couple of other forums how they are saying how you can come watch and learn how the "pros" catch these big fish. They stock it with big dumb hatchery rainbows a couple of days before the big event and then masterfully catch them like they have really accomplished something!
Nope, not for me. I'll continue to take my kids fishing, pass down what I've learned and hope they will take it up and do the same for their kids. Don't need a patch on my shirt or a plastic trophy in my hand to do that.

09-26-2009, 05:34 PM
The concept of competitive fly fishing for money may appeal to younger folks, but not to me. My fishing is about peace , tranquility, and solitude. What I do is mostly fly flogging, but every time I go, fish or no fish, I win. Some of the spots I have waded into are so beautiful, I forget to fish. Just being there
hearing the water, and breathing the air is prize enough for me.

Hal M
09-26-2009, 07:04 PM

I agree with you 100%!!!

Hal M

Carolina Boy
09-26-2009, 09:17 PM
My take on this is somewhat mixed. I am a rather alpha male type that grew up playing sports where winning was why you suffer through practice, as bizarre as this will sound I am from South Carolina and Southern as can be, yet I played college Ice Hockey in Rhode Island, let me know if you want further detail! I fish to relax and block all of the challenges of work and life out. I seek to be the best fisherman I can, and I do not measure this based on others and there success or knowledge, but more on my own view of what success is for me and i am rather hard on myself. I know when i do not fish well and it does bother me. I must say that the idea of competition excites me, and it has nothing to do with beating someone else, but more validating that i know what the heck i am doing out there. I in no way think that fishing some stupid stocked up dumba$&#37; fish loaded strech proves anything. But what I see is that when you look at bass fishing, which i enjoy just for fun, you see nascar on the water, flashy shirts and a bunch of BS. But there is $$$ in it, so there is a market. Flyfishing is viewed I think as a older distinguished persons sport, refined in whiskey and literature, of which I embrace both. But with all this said having competition may offer advancement in the sport. I just wish it was not a staged type of thing. Look nothing makes me more relaxed than being on a gorgeous strech of creek high in the mountains, or a salt flat at the coast chasin tails, I truley feel that I am as close to the Good Lord as i can be in either of these settings. But with that said, I can't help but say that i get this touch of anxiety in my gut as I arrive at the stream or landing prior to heading out. This is pressure i put on myself for the day and i kinda like the idea of putting my skills to the test against others that love this sport as much as i do. All this said it does add some sort of superficial and financial validity to the sport and possibilites of televsioisn and media exposure. Most struggling flyshop owners would probably appreciate this type of competition driven advancement I would guess?

09-26-2009, 10:10 PM
I realize I am a new member here and you guys may decide to oust me, but I've never been one to hold my thoughts and opinions back!

I thoroughly understand the sentiment of not wanting to turn the streams into a zoo. I grew up fishing farm ponds- sometimes with others, but a lot of the time by myself. The peace of fishing without the world's distraction around me is priceless.

That being said, I think that it would expose the sport and open it up to a new crowd of people.

Up until college (where I took a fly fishing class- what better PE credit right?) I never fly fished. I fished for bass almost exclusively (occasionally catfish or crappie). I have fly fished off and on since then, but not a great deal.

The reason I haven't done much is that quite frankly fly fisherman can be some of the most crotchety, and unhelpful people in the world to be around. I don't mean to offend anyone here with those statements- one of my first posts asked a question and people here were very helpful.

What I mean by that statement is this. I grew up in Texas. We have warm water- period. No trout. When I tried to learn about trout fishing here in TN, I might as well have been asking questions to a tree. When I visited fly shops people looked and talked down to me because I was the new guy. They were not helpful. They were not informative. They were at times flat out rude- and these were the people I was trying to buy gear from.

I have talked to quite a few others who felt the same way I did and were treated identically when they started. When you refuse to share your knowledge, how do you expect the sport to grow or keep it alive?

To me, hunting and fishing have always been activities I look forward to. You know what's better than hunting or fishing though- teaching someone else to hunt or fish.

In my experiences, more often than not, that practice is not carried out in fly fishing (again- speaking generalities- not trying to offend anyone).

By putting on a tournament, you open some eyes. You get people's attention- especially as it starts getting media coverage. Wheel start turning. People start thinking- hey, that might be fun.

At that point, as the popularity grows, so does the information. It is easier for people to find out how to fly fish- What gear do they need? What leader size? What tippet size? What flies? Where to go to fish? What to look for when they get there? (and on and on...)

Answers to those questions are not always as easy to come by today as they should be. One of the reasons I haven't done a lot of fly fishing is because I couldn't find the answers. My reading and research didn't help a lot. Fly fisherman tend to be elusive and secretive. They tend to give just enough information to keep you from catching fish.

With a rise in popularity a tournament brings, the knowledge tends to follow. That gets more people on the water catching fish and enjoying themselves.

I understand wanting to keep it to yourselves, but I always enjoy sharing things.

I'm sure the responses to this ought to be interesting! Again- no harm meant guys. Just observations and my experiences when I started fly fishing.

By the way, LRO was the FIRST fly shop (out of several) that was actually helpful and encouraging when I got started. Thanks for that.

09-26-2009, 10:29 PM
I have heard a lot about the elitism of western fly fishers but not so much here in East Tennessee. I started fly fishing about 2 1/2 years ago and was posting questions on this board right and left - some legitimate, some pretty silly in retrospect. But I've always received interesting, informative and polite responses to even the most off-the-wall questions. People on this board normally leap at questions, particularly from novices, with some really great responses. If anything, answers come like a fire-hose with lots of different perspectives.

I'll admit that from time to time, someone will understandably protect the location of a favorite stream or honey hole on this board but, for the most part, sharing is the general rule of the day. Whatever your bad experiences have been in the past with people unwilling to share, I hope you have a very different experience with this group of fly fisher folk.

Carolina Boy
09-26-2009, 11:40 PM
Hey bud shoot me an email at bmurphy@gmail.com we ought to chat, I would be happy to help you any way i can

09-26-2009, 11:48 PM
When i was younger I tournament bass fished on a state level. I spent lots of $$$ on all the grear. Every weekend I was on the road fishing. Overall I had a positive experience and I met some really good people.
But there is an ugly side to everything. It changes people when you mix the words competitive, and money....

I think it is wrong to have any competitive event involving wildlife that gives money and fame to any one person.
Ok now if an event gives 100% of the money to a charity, sign me up, this old man think he can out fish any 20 or 30 year old.

09-26-2009, 11:58 PM
I think the idea of competitive trout fishing goes against all of the reasons one trout fishes (fly fishes).

I believe the competition is between the angler and the fish.

Now, anyone can throw a lure and baitfish. But, it takes a true fisherman and a self imposed trout fisherman to take on a trout with the challenge of matching the fly to the hatch.

Other than that; I think I would just beat everyone in any trout competition...:biggrin: Just kidding friends...

Good topic...

09-27-2009, 07:48 AM
It's all about EGO! there are numerous ways to get kids into fishing, in todays society it's all about competition, way to many simple things are lost because the kids are being taught or feel they have to be #1 in everything they do.


09-27-2009, 08:48 AM
So, how much money can I win and how frequently are these things held?

All one has to do is catch more and bigger fish than the next guy and I get money? I love this country. I'm looking for a way to make a living when I retire. :smile:

Seriously, I agree with most of what folks have said here. Tounament fishing is not for me. Anything one does for money becomes a job and I wouldn't want fishing to be work.


09-27-2009, 10:49 AM
I am an agressive person when it comes to competition I've been told,I don't see it that way,but a former karate teacher "pounded it into my head":biggrin:....yeah karate,football,baseball and all that when I was younger,but not fishing!
Fly fishing is and should always be the way Jim Casada described it,and I think that is what makes us love it so much.
But,the younger crowd like some have mentioned will see the competitions as a new avenue,and I truly hope it doesn't happen.
A girl at work is an angler in the women's Pro Bass circuit thingamajig...she has told me things about the sport and tournaments that would totally ruin flyfishing.The big "pros" make jillions of dollars and whenever they're around they have throngs of followers who hover around just to watch and admire them as they fish.She told me that one guy had as many as 150 bass boats chasing him around the lake.
Can you imagine a fly fishing tournament in the mountains with thousands of hero worshipping onlookers crowding in to see their favorite angler...I'm sure promoters can envision that,$$$$$$$.....and I hope it never happens.

09-27-2009, 10:58 AM
If anything, competition in my opinion would drive people away, not draw them to fly fishing.

09-27-2009, 12:08 PM
John Voelker's words and thoughts sum it up fairly well for me in his Testament of a Fisherman.

I fish because I love to;
because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly;
because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted social posturing I thus escape;
because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion;
because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience;
because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don't want to waste the trip;
because mercifully there are no telephones on trout waters;
because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness;
because bourbon out of an old tin cup always taste better out there;
because maybe one day I will catch a mermaid;
and, finally, not because I regard fishing as so terribly important but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant - and not nearly so much fun.

09-27-2009, 12:46 PM
Regardless of your opinions on the subject (I feel the same as most of ya'll), the bottom line is that it is bringing people together for a common purpose...FISHING...and that my friends is NEVER a negative thing.

Jim Casada
09-27-2009, 12:56 PM
BUGG--I'm not sure I agree because I find it hard to call this casting to fish who have called a hatchery home until a few day's previously, with the central idea focusing on outdoing some other human as opposed to enjoying the contemplative art of fishing. Indeed it isn't fishing as I define and conceptualize it, and FLYMAN, quoting John Voelker (a.k.a. as Robert Traver), did us all a favor by putting things in context.

Also, I would ask whether it really promotes the sport in an image-positive way. Do youngsters watching this ego-driven, cash-hungry approach to fly fishing really learn anything about the sport's roots, its deeper meanings, how it soothes the soul, and how it takes us far from avenues of asphalt and worship at the altar of greed? Maybe so, but it's hard for me to see if that's the case.

But then again, I've never denied I'm persnickety.

Jim Casada

09-27-2009, 05:28 PM
Mr. Casada, I understand what you are saying, but I tend to have a "to each his own" attitude. If thats what people get their rocks off on, so be it. I personally have never entered a fishing tournament, but if I did I like to think I wouldn't ever forget the real reason I fish. Regardless, the more people in the world that get involved in the sport of fishing, the more potential players we have on our side in the battle of managing our natural resources.



09-27-2009, 10:02 PM
Can you imagine a fly fishing tournament in the mountains with thousands of hero worshipping onlookers crowding in to see their favorite angler...

Wait, you mean I can get money and groupies at the same time?:biggrin:

Wonder how my wife would react to groupies? Hmm, there may not be trouney fishing in my future after all.


09-28-2009, 09:41 AM
I am really sorry to hear of some of the problems that you have run into trying to learn the sport. I can tell you though, that most of the fly fisherman that I have run into were some of the nicest people you will ever know or get a chance to meet.

One of my fondest memories is of a small stream somewhere in Idaho. I don't even remember where it was. I was about 10 or 11 years old, and was just trying to teach myself to fly fish. We were on our way to visit my Grandfather in Leslie.

I talked my dad into stopping at this stream on the side of the road. The sign said it was a public stream for fly fishing only and that it had been donated by John Hemmingway in his father Earnest Hemmingway's memory.

Well I was not very good, but I did manage to catch a couple of nice trout on an Adams dry when a van pulled up. The van had mag wheels and little dangly balls hanging down around the windshield. An older gentelman got out.

He was so happy to see me there fishing and he proceded to introduce himself to my dad and I. His name was John Hemmingway, and he gave me half a dozen grasshopper flies that he tied himself, along with some pointers on where in the stream flow to fish them. It is a memory that I will always have.

You may just want to try and slow down a little bit. Maybe if you talked to some more fly fisherman, get into a discussion with them, they will open up more. I know that I love to share fly fishing with people. It is one of the passions that I have. I love to share and always have the hope that I can give someone maybe just a taste of the joy and happiness that the sport brings to me.

Having said all of that, I am not one to automatically just give out all of the great spots to just anyone that I don't know. I want to know a little about the person first. Does he respect the sport and the country? Is he polite and good natured? I guess for me it is like asking a farmer to hunt on his land....when I was young this was a common thing, but too often other people ruined this by littering, breaking fences, etc.

Those of us that have been doing this for a while have seen similar things happen.

Mike, I know that there would be plenty of people on this board that would be willing, and actually enjoy teaching you about the sport. Why don't you try to set something up for a particular date and see what kind of response you get.

As far as fly fishing for money, not my cup of tea.


Ky Tim
09-28-2009, 09:51 AM
I would like to give my opinion on this as well, but let me preface this by saying that I am an outdoor writer who has made money by writing about bass fishing and tournaments. I have spent countless hours sharing a boat with some of the top professional bass anglers on both of the major tournament circuits and do enjoy it. I don't tourney fish myself, just not for me.

All that being said, fly fishing for trout is completely different than driving a $50,000 boat on major reservoirs and rivers searching out five bass. It is supposed to be a quiet, contemplative sport. I for one would like it to always be that way. Not really sure how a fly fishing tournament would work, particularly on small streams, where crowded conditions could easily occur. Even on large reservoirs, arguments over one particlar spot frequently occur.

09-28-2009, 11:37 AM
Never really thought about it,but catching a mermaid would be nice like the man said.:biggrin:

09-28-2009, 11:58 AM
I appreciate people's responses to my take on this.

At this point, I have learned enough that I can go out and catch fish (usually anyway!)

For me at this stage, I am learning the more subtle things- reading the water better, getting more confident on exactly which part of the pool the fish will be holding, etc. Sure, I can learn from others, but I am also at a point that I can pick up on these things myself.

Not saying I know everything (never will) but I don't need the help I was looking for when I was starting out.

I understand not giving away the honey holes. I understand not giving away the one fly you stumbled on that is tearing them up (kind of like the fisherman that goes and buys the store out of the lure he's catching them on so no one else can get it).

My point in all of this is that if you have the publicity and the coverage, it will encourage people to try the sport. The more publicity and coverage, the wider spread the information is. That helps out the people starting out that may not have the best experiences walking into a fly shop when they're getting started (again-my own experiences several years ago).

Now... the stocked fish I'm not crazy about...

I think it would be a lot more interesting to set boundaries and start form a central spot like bass tournaments do. Check in is at xxx time. Here are your boundary limits. If you want to spend the day hiking and only fish for an hour vs. hiking a short distance and having more time to fish, that's up to you. Strategy comes into play at that point. Then the task of making sure the fish are kept alive for weigh in. If you're three miles away, that may be a challenge.

I just think overall it could be a positive thing.

Except for the day and time of the tournament, I don't see a huge impact on disrupting the quiet time we all like to spend on the stream.

09-28-2009, 12:04 PM
When fly fishing for trout becomes a competition, you have traded the beauty, serenity and peace for something less, much less.

Yes, it may bring additional anglers into the sport, but what type of anglers will be attracted? I can easily envision a hostile environment filled with ego maniacs, dim wits and plenty of hot air. Excuse me, but escaping that environment is the primary reason I go trout fishing.

09-28-2009, 12:55 PM
i read this post with a smile because it was pretty clear when it started where it would go although i must admit i was very impressed by the generally civil tone of the discussions which is a credit to the group.

And naturally had to throw my two cents in cause...... oh why not..

Agree completely that i dont really like the idea of competitive fly fishing for myself...........

Completely disagree that is is a bad thing. I get really concerned when the fly fishing community begins to denounce any group that doesnt do it "their way"... this is in my opinion much worse in fly fishing communities than in any other population cross section i deal with in my personal life (except college football fans of course)

The key here is why not be tolerant of other's "thing" versus labeling it bad or good.

Spin fishing vs bait vs fly (if done legally) are all attractive to some cross section of the license buying out door sports minded population

Taking examples from just our fly fishing community we had "Dry only" proponets, no "san jaun worm or egg y2k" section, the no strike indicator section, the no "stocker" fish section, "little stream vs river" section, the XXXXXXX section .... fill in your own favorite......

yet the key is if it is legal and done correctly and it makes whoever is doing it happy it should not only be allowed but also not condescended too just because it isnt the way you do it. ...... heck some of those things you may not like may be what is keeping the water you like to fish free of crowds of other fishermen........

Hopefully we in the fly fishing community will realize how often we appear and sound to be condescending toward the rest of the sporting world...... maybe that is why we so often have a bad name as elitest....

okay there was my rant i will shut up now...... sorry


09-28-2009, 01:51 PM
What do ya'll think about Baptist vs Methodist vs Catholics vs Presbyterian vs Lutheran? Grandpa said Methodists were just Baptist that could read :eek:


09-28-2009, 01:57 PM
now that is funny........ i don't care who you are


09-28-2009, 02:19 PM
I guess we'll have to ammend the old saying: "Never talk about politics, religion...and competitive fly fishing."

Jim Casada
09-28-2009, 04:24 PM
MBB (and numerous others who have contributed their thoughts on competitive fishing)--
After following this unfolding sharing of opinions with intense interest, in no small measure because I'm prone to delve into the philosophical sides of why we fly fish, here are a number of comments and further thoughts in no particular order of importance.

(1) First of all, kudos to one and all for graciousness and gentility on what I knew, when I made the original post, would be a "tetchy" (to use a highly descriptive word from Appalachian English) issue. Paula hasn't had to issue a cautionary word or send any of us to "time out."

(2) The matter of elitism, raised in more than one response, really troubles me because I know it has validity. Call it snobbishness, arrogance, elitism, or by some other term, fly fishermen seem particularly prone to feel they are somehow above the hoi polloi. It's worse in other parts of the country than in this region, but even in the Smokies it is all too prevalent. Anyone who has heard me talk much in public settings knows this is a real boil on my bottom. I have absolutely no use for those folks who catch a few trout, perhaps have enough money to buy the finest in equipment or fish exclusive private waters, and somehow suddenly come to the conclusion that they are members of a highly select club of cognoscenti which gives them the right to look down on everyone else. I forthrightly condemn such frauds whether they are members of trout clubs, outfitters, guides, or appear in some other guise. Indeed, and Byron and Paula had no idea this was the case until now, one of the things which immediately attracted me to their operation was the fact that when I first darkened their door I was greeted with genuine warmth. This was before I had said a word about who I was, so nobody was trying to cozy up to me just because I happened to be a fly-fishing writer. I'm sure I received precisely the same reception as everyone else--a genteel welcome. That being said, I will admit that I won't just up and take someone fishing to share my "secrets." Truth be told, other than a great deal of experience and lots of contemplation, I don't have many. Building time is the ultimate secret, although it sure helps to watch or work with a master at the outset. Yet if I spend a day teaching someone who approaches me out of the blue (and it happens regularly), I've done two things. I've taken business away from hard-working guides who probably know as much or more than I do, and I've also denied myself a day's fishing. The latter may be somewhat selfish, and in my defense I'll say that I've taken scores of people along over the years. However, most have been folks I knew and liked. I think I could make a pretty strong case that someone who asks me to take them who is, at best, a passing acquaintance is being selfish in their own right.

(3) I did a bit of non-scientific checking of profiles for those who responded on this thread, and I think I discern a pretty clear division of viewpoints connected with age. Most of those who have problems with competitive fishing tend to be, like me, members of the long-in-the-tooth and sparse-in-the-hackle tribe (older anglers). On the other hand, those who seem somewhat enamored of competitive fishing seem to be in the 40 and under class for the most part. Generational differences appear on any number of subjects (take health care at the moment), so that's hardly suprising.

(5) Curiously, getting away from aesthetics, no one has addressed what I personally would consider one of the potentially more damaging aspects of competitive fishing; namely, real damage to streamside vegetation and the environment if hordes hustled along watching competitors in action. There's already some of this, and if anyone has ever been to a big bass event, participants are surrounded by boats all over the water. Boats on the water is one thing, but feet on the shoreline are something else.

(6) Then there's the very real problem which could exist if an event of this kind was held on a public stream. That isn't the case with the event I used to start the thread, but should it happen, I for one would cry foul. Public waters mean just that--PUBLIC--and I would be precisely as irritated as I was when Park bigwigs decided to shut down trails and roads so those of us who are mere peons wouldn't bother them while they celebrated the 75th anniversary. I found it ironic in the extreme that Lamar Alexander, in his remarks, said this was "the people's Park" even though those people weren't allowed to be there to hear him. I just don't see how you could hold a competition on public waters, because any one of us has just as much right to be fishing as the next guy.

(7) One respondent "qualified the witness," to use lawyer speak, by saying he had covered bass tournaments and enjoyed being an observer in the boat. I've done that too, and a lot of it, being an attendee at perhaps 15 BassMaster Classics over the years and a lead correspondent for local newspapers and/or B.A.S.S. publications three times (twice in Greensboro and once in Charlotte). I'd rather have a root canal while suffering from a chronic case of hemorrhoids than sit in the broiling sun for eight hours sharing the boat with some prima donna (not all of them are, mind you) who wishes you weren't there and doesn't want you to so much as open your pie hole. I write for a living but finally said to myself enough is enough. I just couldn't face the misery any more.

(8) I genuinely question the premise of competitive fishing having a positive influence by introducing folks to the sport. I would suspect that for every individual enthralled by the competition there would be another one who decided, based on what was on display, "I want no part of this." Also, ask yourself: Who does more good for the sport--a gracious mentor who takes youngsters astream for a quiet time of sharing and caring, or preening peacocks who live for the limelight?

(9) Finally, I'll acknowledge there's some validity to the "can't we all just get along" argument, but if you make the leap of that logic from the outdoors to the odious world of politics, maybe some of the air goes out of that balloon. I think we are always well served by clinging to tradition, even as we keep our minds open to creative and constructive change. That's pretty much the definition of a classic conservative, and that's where I fit in life.

Now I'll leave it to someone else to decide whether all the above is blather or maybe a perspective with some believeability.

Jim Casada

www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

09-28-2009, 04:38 PM
I ask: Why do they need to be at odds? Can't we have both and leave each to his own? To me it's like asking: Which do you like better, ribs or steak?

Carolina Boy
09-28-2009, 09:46 PM
While everybody is peacfully weighing in I am a Gamecock and we beat # 4 Ole Miss thursday so I am sure I will upset a ton of people on this board!! Just wait till Oct 31st cuz were gonna be takin a neyland on ya! Sorry somebody said something bout football! By the way Blue Raider guy your coach used to be one of our coordinaters totally pull for you guys!

Carolina Boy
09-28-2009, 09:56 PM
Mr Casada you Sir are priceless!!I love your posts and I get a great laugh out of your wisdow and the witty manner that you string together thoughts. Your take on the 75th park anniversary was great, at one point in the past you talked about a 1 weight "ferry wand"! We are all very fortunate to be privy to the insightful ramblings of a down home appalachian intellectual, that just happens to be an authority on the sport we all love so much. Plus we get the opportuntity to hear how ya really feel outside of the somewhat polished published book world. Thank you for chatting with all us heathens!

Scott H.
09-28-2009, 11:20 PM
"Competitive Fly fishing"?
To me that is an oxymoron.

Fly fishing, by it's very nature should not be competitive.

As for getting help from those with vast experience, I have found this forum to be tremendous. If you ask the right way, and ask the right people, you can gain a great deal of knowledge.

I know firsthand, because people like Hugh, Jim, and the people from LRO, none of which know me from Adam, have all been very gracious sharing their knowledge with me.


09-29-2009, 12:10 AM
While everybody is peacfully weighing in I am a Gamecock and we beat # 4 Ole Miss thursday so I am sure I will upset a ton of people on this board!! Just wait till Oct 31st cuz were gonna be takin a neyland on ya! Sorry somebody said something bout football! By the way Blue Raider guy your coach used to be one of our coordinaters totally pull for you guys!

Use to work with a HUGE Gamecocks fan. UT stinks right now. It wouldn't surprise me at all if you guys won. We have Troy this weekend and Miss St soon after that. Miss St will be at our house, so I give us a chance. They say it's well on it's way to a sell out and we almost sold out the last game. With wins over Maryland and Memphis, things are looking good for the Blue Raiders.

Carolina Boy
09-29-2009, 08:04 AM
Well Rick Stockstill was a great recruiter at clemsux followed by Carolina and he was responsible for some really great receivers for both schools, I think it is awesome you beat maryland can't stand the acc, Miss state looked tough against LSU last week should be tough game in Murfresboro

09-29-2009, 09:43 AM
I read the first couple posts and meant to reply but instead got busy and forgot. So, without reading them all I’m sure someone has said the same thing in one form or another, but here goes…

Personally I do not care for the idea of a fly fishing competition. It just does not appeal to me. I prefer to fish in the mountains, alone or sometimes with one other person (maximum). I appreciate the peace and quiet and do not need the distraction of a stopwatch and a clipboard. I like to look around, turn over some rocks, take some pictures and catch some fish. I have fished with some people (only once) that are into the competition part of it. If we had been keeping score I would have averaged winning 10 to 1 ;).

And as far as football goes...please stay inside watching the big game and cheering for your teams.

09-29-2009, 10:36 AM
I remember many years ago while fishing in a Middle TN. stream,I said I'd really like to fly fish in the mountains,to which one of my long time fishing buddies said,"I have and it gets tedious,real tedious".
I have thought about that many times since I've started to fly fish for mountain trout....for me it is tedious at times.
So for different levels of competitive fly fishing,one of the basics could be "tying the fly to the tippet".....that's a tough one for my old eyes and fingers....then you could go to "fishing for squirrels"....then progress to "untangling lines"....if we held competitions like that,it wouldn't get far.

09-29-2009, 12:40 PM
Is there some threat to the park that I am not aware of in the form of fly fishing contests?

Jim Casada
09-29-2009, 12:50 PM
Crockett--Look at points 5 and 6 in my lengthy earlier post. Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

09-29-2009, 01:12 PM
Jim I am with you on points 5 & 6 and agree having 1000 people trampling up one of the small streams to observe a tournament would be devastating to the ecosystem up there. I am just trying to figure out if there is some real impending threat ie a proposed tournament in the works. I would hope the park would not allow it but I am guessing from this thread that some think it would.

Jim Casada
09-29-2009, 01:56 PM
Crockett--I don't know of any event in the works. The situation on the Reservation where the Rumble in the Rhododendron is held is a special one in a lot of ways. However, I would note that much of the water which is now part of the Res's fly-fishing only stretch (where the Rumble takes place) once belonged to the Park. They in effect gave it away in a swap a few years back which absolutely defied all logic. Actions of that kind, and it is by no means the only example, explain why I harbor lingering doubts about how the Park might react to a proposal for a "tournament."

The logical expectation would be to say "no way," but they swapped archaeologically rich, historically imporant, and ecologically significant bottom land along lower Raven Fork for a piece of remote land with no significance whatsoever other than being almost cliff-like, inaccessible, and with no ecologically redeeming features.

Of course I for one believe there were $$$ somewhere, and the Eastern Band now has enormous influence thanks to those $$$. The Park superintendent caved on the swap, plain and simple, and it could happen again. Hopefully not, and I for one would fight it with every means available to me. Yet I've sent repeated letters to various superintendents over the years, mainly in regard to horse trails, camps, and general horse damage in the Park, and they've either been ignored or drawn a unresponsive "response" similar to the kind of stuff which spews out from inside the Beltway on a daily basis.

Jim Casada

www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

09-29-2009, 02:02 PM
Man that is poor management by the park. I heard something about a land swap around there for a school or something but had no idea it was that bad. That is pretty scary. Well thanks for the info Jim.

09-29-2009, 02:23 PM
There's alot I don't know about the park,but swapping bottom land for anything other than more bottom land is a dumb move to my way of thinking.
Guess there's lots of politics involved,I just didn't know the boundaries of a National Park,or land within,could be removed from that park.I figured it was a "done deal".
Last time I was at Tellico,I noticed the 4x4 offroad area had been closed till further notice.I think Trout Unlimited might have been involved,though I'm not sure...but bottom line is those public places are there for everyone,so one activity being closed affects one group to the satisfaction of another whose activity could be closed someday also.
Everybody does something,it's bound to be a hard thing to manage a park or public land to everyone's satisfaction.
I'm a relic hunter,one rule in most places is "no metal detectors"...but what would be a great time for me,hunting old homesites and trail campsites,is not allowed,to my dissatisfaction...but I understand some reasons behind the ruling.
Kind of off topic,but I think the wants of many outweigh the wants of a few.

Jim Casada
09-29-2009, 02:43 PM
Man that is poor management by the park. I heard something about a land swap around there for a school or something but had no idea it was that bad. That is pretty scary. Well thanks for the info Jim.
Crockett--The "justification" for the whole deal was indeed to get a good location for a school. Just so happens the tribe had plenty of perfectly suitable land in Soco Valley close to the casino, but obviously educational needs couldn't intrude on a cash cow. The Park plain blew it on this but there is a wider irony to the whole situation.
Tribal fathers are presently buying up land left and right in areas close to the reservation with money from the casino. The red man's revenge is in overdrive, because if things keep going in this direction the Eastern Band will own huge chunks of land in Swain, Jackson, and Graham counties. It's smart on their part but I'm not so sure it an attractive augury of the future.

Jim Casada

www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

09-29-2009, 04:14 PM
When I look at the lifestyle the Cherokee should have vs what they have in reality, I have to cut them some slack on land for a school, but that's just me.

Ky Tim
09-29-2009, 05:30 PM
(7) One respondent "qualified the witness," to use lawyer speak, by saying he had covered bass tournaments and enjoyed being an observer in the boat. I've done that too, and a lot of it, being an attendee at perhaps 15 BassMaster Classics over the years and a lead correspondent for local newspapers and/or B.A.S.S. publications three times (twice in Greensboro and once in Charlotte). I'd rather have a root canal while suffering from a chronic case of hemorrhoids than sit in the broiling sun for eight hours sharing the boat with some prima donna (not all of them are, mind you) who wishes you weren't there and doesn't want you to so much as open your pie hole. I write for a living but finally said to myself enough is enough. I just couldn't face the misery any more.www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Jim I am the person that said I have been in the boat. Most of the time I was at the Classic, but also was a member of the Red Man All-American Press Corps as well. You and I have met and I agree with your take on fly fishing competitions, but disagree with you on sitting in the boat with a prima donna. So were you with Clunn or Roland? :smile:

09-29-2009, 07:55 PM
Hi Jim,

I guess I'm coming into this discussion a little late. I do agree with you that competing for money does not represent the true morals of our sport. However, this doesn't mean we should condone all competitive flyfishing. I have a few observations that I wanted to share.

-My first observation is that in this land of freedom, we should be able to enjoy whatever brings us joy, however it most brings us joy as long as it's within the law. This means I should respect your ideas just as I do my own, even though I may thoroughly disagree (which amazingly has taken place in this discussion).

-I agree with you completely that competitions with monetary or other types of prizes should not be conducted on public water, especially those within any national park where limiting human impact and use is the goal. But, (I may be wrong) I don't know of any fly fishing competitions with cash prizes that take place on public water. i.e. the Rumble in the Rhododendron or the Flyfishing Masters. In comparison, trials and competitions associated with the Flyfishing Team USA always take place on public water. Also, international rules prohibit the closings of public streams for competition. A fellow fisherman wanting to fish during a competition can be made aware of what is taking place, but cannot be kept from fishing, because we all have a right to public water.

-The views of the competitors that participated in the Rumble in the Rhododendron in no way represent the majority of those that compete in flyfishing. So we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Most fly fishers that compete in the US today do not do so for money, but rather as an opportunity to radically improve their skills with a chance to represent their country with a spot on Team USA. I can personally attest to extreme-cost, both of time and money, to compete in flyfishing. I can also say for a fact that the fly fishers that are better known tend to be those that help others learn through publication, flyfishing shows, etc, not because of competing.

-In regards to the comment that Schuler made about competition bringing folks into our sport, I think this is wishing a little too much, and I don't see much evidence for it. However, it should be an accepted avenue for those who, after learning the sport, naturally enjoy competition and want to do something more than keep track of fish numbers with a buddy for a day.

-I would refrain from making the generalization that those who compete don't take the beauty in around them. Just last week, I hiked a 7 mile total round-trip to fish a wild stream where I saw nobody all day. I caught a bunch of fish but I also took a break to photograph streamside wildflowers and turn over a bunch of rocks. Also, George Daniel, my coach on the youth team, frequently told us to take notice of the brilliant coloration patterns of the fish we caught. For him, currently one of the best competitors in the country, flyfishing is not all competition. He often fly fishes with his wife, and they just a baby girl which I am sure will be on the stream sooner than later.

These are just some random thoughts I had on the subject. I don't aim to change anyone’s opinions. Bear in mind also, that no one in my family fly fished before me and so I haven't had a dad or grandfather to teach me about flyfishing and its customs and traditions.

Another disclaimer: I competed for a year on the US Youth Flyfishing Team and I am only 19 so I don't claim to be that objective. Maybe when I have fly fished as long as you I will have a true two cents to give.


09-30-2009, 07:45 PM
It seems that whenever there is a new sports competition craze of any significance, sponsorships are never far behind. I'm picturing the professional Smokies trout fisherman's vest having patches with... let's see... Orvis (that's cool), Coors, Mountain Dew, Beanie Weanies, Harrah's, Ripley's Aquarium, Belz Outlets, Dixie Stampede, Harley Davidson....

It's gonna be great.:rolleyes:


09-30-2009, 09:40 PM
Money, cool sponsor patches for the vest and groupies. What's not to like? Count me in...:biggrin:

Just joking. I'm actually not a big fan of BASS tournaments either. The older I get, the less competitive I become. There's enough stress in life, no need to make fishing stressful. Heck, most days, I don't really care if I catch a fish or not. It's just a blessing to be able to get out on the water, cast a fly line and enjoy what God has given us.


10-01-2009, 08:30 AM
Amen Jeff,
The fish I catch in the mountains are small,and years ago I would have caught a few and thought,hey I can catch bigger fish than these at home.....but now,the whole experience is what makes it so enjoyable,the beauty,the solitude (I'm a loner),and just wetting a line and being able to hook a small trout,well that makes this something to love...that's what makes Jim's book title so relative to what we do,"A Pursuit of Passion"....what a great title.