Always Learning

Always Learning

Carol Northcut | Wednesday, 5 July 2023

Explore, learn, grow, become. That is what SL members are on about. Well, most anyway. Some leaders of the casting organization of which I’m a part are toying with the idea of mandatory continuing education to maintain casting certification. While it will be an administrative PITA (pain in the arse), it might be a good idea. It would elevate the status of certification, encourage continuous learning and a higher level of professionalism. Not everyone who obtains a certification keeps up with their casting or coaching/teaching methods. That’s like a dentist who obtained certification in 1970 who hasn’t updated his/her knowledge or equipment since. Would you have respect for that dentist? I’ve also seen people use the opportunity to be mentored to improve their own casting skills for cheap or free and then never instruct or mentor others. Instead, they used the acquired initials to market themselves. I would hope that requiring continuing education might help solve these problems.
There will be many administrative issues to resolve if mandatory CE moves forward, such as what qualifies as CE, how to verify attendance/participation, how to deal with those who lapse, or even how to deal with those who are unable to teach anymore for medical reasons. There’d be many issues, but it only takes a little investigation into how it’s done elsewhere to come up with solutions.

On another note, we learned that Big Creek has little fish. Big Creek is a feeder creek for the North Fork of the Flathead that Steve has wanted to explore a bit, so we did on Saturday. After an hour or so of wading upstream in the skinny water, we’d either caught dinks or had them try to take the flies that were too big for them. It’s now July and any larger fish have long finished spawning creek moved back to the main stem. We bushwhacked back to the car and drove down to the main stem.

Northwest Montana is in severe drought, and water levels are very low. That means the fish are hanging out right where the rubber hatch flows. As it was the Saturday before the 4th of July, the redneck party train was on the water. One group contained about 30 people on paddleboards, innertubes, inflatable kayaks, etc. Of course, they stopped about 500 feet upstream from me, while a smaller breakaway party meandered a few feet upstream of me, saying “sorry” as they paddled through where I was casting. After a while, the larger group left their lunch spot, leaving behind orange peels and half-eaten food, and floated by blaring Brooks & Dunn music from the DJ’s paddleboad. I secretly wished the guy would dunk in a rapid and lose his player rather than continue to share his music with the wilderness on the other side of the river. Granted, it wasn’t as bad as the Upper Colorado River, which has become a continuous parade. Or maybe I’ve just become an old fart who yells, “Get off my lawn!” After all, it is public water. I just wish there was more respect for it and nature.

Today is the 4th, and we’re going to do another ride at The Pig Farm. There is another small lake we found that is only half-covered in lily pads with lots of frogs jumping around. Steve even saw a big turtle there. We have to wonder if there are any bass in it. I rather doubt it, but it’s fun to think about.