Of late, culturally, it has been pretty strange around here in South Florida. On the COVID front, the great folks in this area seem hell bent on setting some kind of world record for contagion. Florida has been breaking all kinds of records for numbers of people testing positive, checking into hospitals, and sadly, succumbing to the virus. Other states are having their difficulties too, but Florida is hovering, week after week, in one of the top three spots. South Florida, of course, is the epicenter for cases within the state.
So, as you might expect, my weekly flycasting class has been put on hold until whenever. All classes are cancelled. Schools will not even be in session this coming fall, except for “virtual” learning via computer screens. I have the opportunity to hang out in the flyshop if I want, but I am not real keen on mingling with the unwashed public at this time. Hell, I am even hesitant to go to the store for food.
As for fishing, I have not been out in a while. We have been in the throes of “erratic pulses of subtropical moisture” for weeks. In plain speak that means it has been raining a lot. And when it is not simply raining the frequent daily storms have been violent. Yeah… that has not been real inviting either.
So, thankfully, since it seems my life is boringly centered on flyfishing, I have been finding other avenues to explore with all this spare time. Mostly I have been playing around in the casting field. I have some cracking new rods and a whole bunch of flylines to evaluate. Although, apparently, I might not be a very good tester. I try things and then I tell folks what I think. Maybe I am naïve and I’m not supposed to mention stuff that I don’t particularly like that much?
Otherwise I have been a bookworm. I am reading everything that I can get my hands on that deals with stream and river hydraulics as it pertain to nymph fishing. Like everything else in flyfishing, there is a lot of information available.
The funny thing is, I am not really interested in taking this new knowledge to the trout streams. If I do get to do my semi-annual backpacking trip to the mountains this fall, I will likely fish Spiders and traditional wets. For some reason they appeal to me. I know I should be able to catch more trout on weighted nymphs but numbers are not my main goal. Traditionally, I catch very few trout on my trips, but they are just a small part of the whole enjoyable experience.
The reason I have been researching this topic is to see if some of it might translate it into my usual saltwater angling. There is very little attention given to subsurface saltwater flyfishing down here, and where there is, it is usually targeting off shore deepwater pelagic species. Inshore, it is mostly sight fishing or shoreline painting. I think there are a lot of fish that are being unfairly ignored.
Years back when I was hanging around with a couple local guides I frequently heard them speak poorly of supposedly good trout anglers who came down try something salty. The guides complained about excessive false casting, lack of distance, and things like that. That usually went on until the odd guide took a vacation to some trout destination and realized they could not catch a trout to save their life. Salt and fresh might both be flyfishing, but the techniques that are required are sometimes quite different.
And that is what makes me scratch my head. There is so much information out there about flyfishing for trout! You would think that many salt guys would be interested in learning the techniques, old and new, to see if there might be some overlap, but it does not seem to be the case. I do not know whether it is due to snobbery or tunnel vision, or what, but it seems that many just ignore that mother lode of information, both historical and current.
Ask a young salt water guide about mending and watch their face.