On the Fly: Don’t judge a book by its cover

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
Scott Spooner (round brim) and friend Chris Vaughan (flat brimmer).
Sarah Miller Vaughan/Courtesy photo

I am in my fifties, but I mostly fish and hang out with younger people, aka flat brimmers. Can flat brimmers and round brimmers get along? Heck, yeah. I’m talking about hats here, by the way. As a general rule, most people in their late thirties and beyond wear a hat with a rounded brim, and the younger set rocks the flat brim. I only know a handful of people here in the valley over forty who wears a flat brim, but I’m sure there’s more.

Do round brimmers have anything to learn from flat brimmers? The answer is yes. Can round brimmers show a few tricks to the younger set? A resounding yes! The main thing I take away from my younger fishing partners is to not have a specific fishing plan and not being afraid of new techniques. What they take from me is learning to be prepared for anything and enjoying stolen moments to stop and smell the roses while astream. There’s no need to rush. I’m “old.”

Most chronologically advanced anglers seem to think they have nothing to share with or learn from the younger set, but I’d argue against that. This sport depends on new generations of anglers (especially fly shops), and the next Lefty Kreh, Joan Wulff, or Tim Heng is probably on the water right now with the flattest of brims, fishing with a fly or technique that most of us would snicker at. But I’ll bet they’re catching fish!

The moral of this story is to not judge a book by its cover. That kid who looks like he just went to the river after the skate park could probably show you a thing or two, and the old fart squinting through his magnifiers at his fly box has probably forgotten more about this sport than younger anglers could seemingly ever know. They can both borrow from each other, and one day, these young punks just might be squinting into their fly box, too. The only constant we have in this world is change — don’t fight it!

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


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