Choice - It is all about...
your fly fishing enjoyment!
Fly fishers coming to my website will find a host of articles that suggest it is allright to think for yourself when choosing fly tackle. Wouldn't you expect that? In the face of the oppressive fly fishing "party line", it is allright to stay focused on what YOU would like to get out of the sport of fly fishing. In the face of those spouting the "party line" keep your determination to enjoy the sport while helping to grow and preserve it.
What is the "party line"? The "party line" includes "concepts" like: Beginners have to learn to fly fish on a 6 or 7 weight system. Using ultralight tackle on fish will cause more fish to die. The all around fly rod is a 6 weight. One has to be an "expert" to fish ultralight fly tackle. Using ultralight fly tackle will ruin the sport.
My experience suggests this is all baloney! In fact, some of those very "party line" people fish ultralight systems in SECRET!
I recently received an email from a fly fisher who frequents my webite and fishes ultralight fly tackle. He catches lots of fish, and is really enjoying himself these days.
He related: "I met (XX a noted SE book author and lecturer) at a Trout Unlimited chapter meeting a couple of weeks ago. I have to say he is with the "party line" on ultralight fly fishing. He did not have anything nice to say about the subject. I was not very impressed with him either."
My favorite question at this point is to ask "And how many hundred hours do you have fishing ultralight fly tackle?" Usually the complainant stumbles, chokes, coughs, and says "Well, I have tried it once or twice, but I didn't enjoy it."
How enlightened are the "leaders" in the fly fishing industry, and fly fishing shop personnel? More and more fly fishers are taking charge of their own lives, and would like to enjoy being able to fly fish without being hasseled about what hat they wear, what manufacturer's gear they fish, what weight fly system they want to fish, and what fish they pursue. One of the most recognized fly fishing legends actually went on record as wanting to be inclusive in this sport by creating more "affordable" rods. Now, more manufacturers than ever are manufacturing "affordable" ultralight fly rods. Maybe this inclusive attitude will spread and there will be more courtsey for ultralighters in the coming years.
Usually the reason given is "heavier rods save the fish" or "it is easier for a beginner to cast a 6 or 7 weight than a 3 weight." "Sometimes, we need to use heavier tackle just to cast large, bulky flies." In fact my experience has proven that it isn't easier to cast a heavy fly system, and you don't save fish while using light tippets on a heavy system either! You will want a heavier tackle system if your flies are big and wind resistant enough. I have taught beginners to fish 3 weights and they had NO problem. Using a heavy rod unless you use an equally heavy leader/tippet does not benefit you while playing a fish!
The truth is that most fly fishers fishing a 6 weight with light tippets will underplay the fish to keep from breaking the tippet and losing the fish. Hence they are defeating the entire purpose of using the heavier tackle. Heavy tackle fly fishing even causes orthopedic problems over time.
I continue to suggest that fly fishers think for themselves! I'm NOT saying that it is wrong to use heavy fly tackle. If you want to fully enjoy fly fishing, don't over equip yourself. Know your abilities, know the fish species, know their average size, and know the most effective presentation.
On striped bass or large red drum a 6 weight fly system is probably light tackle. In fact a big red drum or striper can run away with an 8 weight fly system. I caught an Amberjack in the gulf of Mexico on an 8 weight and wished I'd had a 10 weight at the time.
On 8 to 12 inch rainbows, 10 inch bluegills, the average 1 1/2 to 2 pound bass, a 6 weight system is overkill. That is my point. A 2 or 3 weight system will handle these fish readily and allow you to catch more fish with a stealth presentation. They will allow you to have more fun, which I believe this sport is really about!
Since I have built this website, I have heard from thousands of ultralight fly fishers around the world. They love fly fishing with ultralight fly tackle. Things are changing. Now a host of 3 and 2 weight rods are available, and for the first time, there is an affordable selection of 1 weight rods available.
Give yourself the options. Don't just accept the "party line". Think this through for yourself. Stay focused, exercise your right to choose, and be determined. Remember, those who say that a fly fisher is WRONG to fish ultralight tackle are showing their prejudice and ignorance. You will catch and release more fish, and you will enjoy the sport more on most of the available fish with light/ultralight tackle - PERIOD!
I'm simply suggesting that you maximize your fly fishing fun by matching the average fish you catch with fly tackle that will let you enjoy catching and releasing the fish you seek.
For more about the Myths of ultralight fly fishing click on Ultralight Myths revisited.
-- Bill Byrd.
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