On the Fly: Now versus then

Scott Spooner
On the Fly

If your parents or grandparents were lucky enough to fly fish, they picked up this sport when it truly was on the fringe. Fly fishing has grown into a huge industry, but back then, finding information and materials was hard. These days, there are thousands of fly patterns, myriad rod and reel companies, and when you want to learn a new technique or find out what the fishing is like, real-time information is only a mouse click away.

I imagine it was pretty tough “back then.” Today we can check the stream flows from our computer or smart phone; back then you found out what was happening when you got there. Imagine spending hours on the road getting to a trout destination, only to find out the river was blowing out. Major bummer! Back then when you broke your fly rod, you were pretty much screwed. These days, a new one is in the mail to you the same day you broke it.

Obviously, there is much romance associated with “back then” — I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t jump at the chance to fish the Fryingpan in 1980 or throw flies at tarpon with Ted Williams. We all imagine empty rivers and saltwater flats with uneducated fish. The stuff of dreams! These days, it can get a bit cutthroat out there. Ask any Fryingpan, North Platte or Keys guide.

We are truly blessed these days with the wealth of information available to us. Do you want to tie the best flies for bonefish at Andros? There are 30 websites dedicated to just that. Which fly line will match your rod and casting abilities? What is the flow on the Deschutes River? Vest or chest pack? How many hours does it take to float from Carbondale to West Bank? Back then, you figured it out. Nowadays, it’s just a click away. Does this make us soft compared to the pioneers of this sport? Probably, but I’ll take it.

This column is provided by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.