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Old 09-26-2009, 12:00 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Default Competitive trout fishing

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
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:43 PM
fearnofishbob fearnofishbob is offline
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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
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:54 PM
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nvr2L8 nvr2L8 is offline
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Default Competitive Fly Fishing

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Charlie B

His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
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Old 09-26-2009, 02:33 PM
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silvercreek silvercreek is offline
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As you said Jim, I like the competition to be between me and the trout. My opinion on competitive flyfishing-may the trout win.
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Old 09-26-2009, 03:12 PM
cubefisher cubefisher is offline
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Default ditto

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.
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Old 09-26-2009, 04:49 PM
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Troutman Troutman is offline
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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.
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Old 09-26-2009, 05:34 PM
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rivergal rivergal is offline
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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.
Gone fishing.
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:04 PM
Hal M Hal M is offline
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I agree with you 100%!!!

Hal M
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Old 09-26-2009, 09:17 PM
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Carolina Boy Carolina Boy is offline
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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$% 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?
If it swims throw a fly at it!

Barry Murphy
828-400-3335 (Cell)

"Healing Those Who Serve"
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Old 09-26-2009, 10:10 PM
MikeTN MikeTN is offline
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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.
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