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Ronan's report

Sunday December 10th, 2006

You know, there has been a lot of good writing on fly fishing over the past couple of centuries. Whether we are readers or not, and whether we realise it, the ideas of many of these old time anglers and fly tiers are incorporated into how we fish today. The discussions on fishing and casting here at Sexyloops are usually pretty advanced, a kind of highly distilled discourse based on hundreds of great old books and magazine articles by enthusiasts who were, well, let's face it, geeks.

The great thing now is that the geeks have taken over the world. Geeks are cool. Nerds, on the other hand, aren't. There is some confusion over the terms nerd and geek. Most people have it wrong. You don't want to be a fly fishing nerd, right? To be a geek is to take things too far, no matter what it is - snowboarding, cars, computer games, food - whatever, at the expense of what 'normal' people might think are the important things in life. Nerds do that too, but they don't get laid quite as often. Fly fishing is the perfect vehicle for the geek tendency. It's the ideal 'special interest' for the internet age. It's got everything. You can be as technical as you want; there's no limit to how geeky you can be about casting or fly tying. There's a whole virtual world of fly fishing out there. The actual fishing - the 'reality' side of it - can range from standing on a wooden platform casting pink zonkers at stockie rainbows (although, you have to admit, that's kind of nerdy), to risking your life in some back country gorge in pursuit of a wild trout as long as your leg (cool).

But we shouldn't forget about those old time geeks from the pre-web era. I was just reading an old book by one of them; Scottish Trout Flies by guy named W. H. Lawrie. This guy was a real thinker, and hardly anyone has heard of him today. Datus Proper mentions this book in What the Trout Said (no, Paul, he didn't actually interview a trout - it's just a figure of speech). The first chapter of Lawrie's book deals with fly design and analyses the regional differences among fly patterns. He asks the question why there should be such differences in fly patterns for essentially the same insects all over the world, and for the same fish. It makes for extremely interesting reading. Old G.E.M. Skues, another of the all-time great fly fishing geeks, asked the same question. We're still having discussions on this subject, and it's always as if it's being considered for the first time. As if we were all born yesterday or something. This is why the subject stays fresh, of course, but I think it's important, now and then, to open of one of those old books by the great fly fishing geeks of the last century. The idea that all the information in the world can now be found on the web is, frankly, bullshit. At the very least, it's just interesting to think about these guys working these ideas out at a time before the so-called information age.

You know what a book is, right? One of those word-holder thingies.


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