Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Mission Statement

There are many times when I wonder why the hell I waste my time writing for a blog that I don't think many people read. Each time I think about this, I come up with some reason why I should keep writing, and tonight I'm actually going to write about it.

I caught my first steelhead at the Gates Mills dam on the Chagrin River. I was in 6th grade, and I was fishing a pink tube jig (no weight, naturally) on a spinning rod. That fish started me along a journey that has since consumed my life. For the past two years, every cent of income I have earned has been derived from this sport- whether it was tying flies, guiding, speaking, or writing - it all was connected to the passion I've had for fishing that began one Halloween on the Chagrin.  Fly fishing has become my life.

My mother was born in Missoula, Montana on July 12th, 1956. Soon after, her and her family moved to a small town in Wyoming nestled between the Bighorn, Absorka, Carter, and Pryor mountain ranges. My grandparents still live in the same house today.

My grandfather used to tote me around when I was a boy - he'd do the fishing, and I, of course, would do the heavy lifting, reeling in every trout he hooked. Rainbows, cutthroats, browns and brookies all fell victim to his flies and my aggressive reeling tendencies. As I got older I began to fish on my own, and he gave me the proper education a budding fly fisherman needed. I was taught to respect the rivers I fished and the fish that lived in them. I learned to appreciate all the things that came along with fishing, besides the fish themselves.

If none of this resonates with you, stop reading now.

Over this past weekend I saw numerous anglers violate some of the cardinal rules of fishing that I was taught by my grandfather. Treating the fish they caught like garbage. Leaving behind coffee cups, fishing line, bait containers, spawn sack netting, and other pieces of trash that they were either too lazy or too oblivious to carry out on their own. The deepest level of fisherman's hell is reserved for litterbugs and those who don't have the dignity to carry a fish back to their car, but instead drag it twenty feet behind them on a piece of nylon cord as they walk through the middle of the woods. Shame. Shame. Shame. To those who litter, detract from the experiences of others, or leave the river in a worse condition than it was found in, I hope you all fall in.

Our sport - not just fly fishing, but fishing in general - is reaching a critical point. Will new anglers join the madness? Will they get the bug like the rest of us did? Will they pass along this passion to others? As anglers you have to ask yourself if you are an angler who inspires others to go fishing, or are you someone that gives them a reason not to.

To the father who takes his son fishing,
to the guy that picks up what his fellow angler left behind,
to the fisherman that gives a struggling angler a couple good flies or a few fresh pieces of bait,
to the guy that turns them loose not because he doesn't want to keep them, but because he figures someone else might enjoy catching that fish as much as he did,
to the fishermen that give a damn about more than catching fish,


Thank you.
Someone like you is the reason I love what I do today.
May your knots be strong, your drifts be tight, your flies be right,

and may you catch a billion of these.




To those who don't, I hope these take over your fishing world.

3 comments: