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Culturing Your Fly Fishing Culture

Fly fishing fly fishing fly fishing.

Why is everything always about fly fishing?

Yeah, yeah. I know. This is a fly fishing website. Out of the 156 posts a year on Casting Across, about 150 of them are specifically about fly fishing. At least I’m consistent. But I might be missing the mark a bit. Because thinking about things in those terms, I’m not doing a great job accurately writing about the culture of fly fishing.  To put things in context, it is important to remember that fly fishing exists as a niche within fishing, which is a niche within outdoors pursuits.

There are plenty more things to do outdoors that aren’t fly fishing that are worth doing. And maybe by doing them, your fly fishing can improve.

That isn’t to say that you’ll hook up with more fish if you run, hike, bird watch, geocache, hunt mushrooms, or practice yoga. With the exception of some of those activities having physical and wellness benefits that can  lead to greater endurance, they don’t offer one-to-one improvements in angling.

What they will do, however, is increase your appreciation of the outdoors.

I trail run and hike. There are plenty of times that I’m doing those things without a fly rod. Frequently I lament that I’m unequipped. Mostly, I have learned to enjoy simply observing rather than fishing and experiencing the same places I fish in new ways.

By adding in a few auxiliary pursuits you’re not going to make yourself a mile wide and an inch deep. Fly fishing is expensive enough that you’re not going to want to also have the best mountain bike, the best skis, and the best kayak. Well, you are going to want them… but that is a lot of money. By adding a few other outdoor activities into the rotation, you’ll enrich your angling.

You’ll see things you don’t see when you’re watching a strike indicator drift across a pool.

You’ll feel things you don’t feel when you’re covered in chest waders.

You’ll hear things you don’t hear when you’re surrounded by moving water.

I could wax poetic about how being holistic in your fly fishing is a measure of success that surpasses fish caught. Furthermore, I could make the case that the well-rounded outdoors-person will likely be the better conservationist. Neither of those is necessary. Unless you’re too far down the intense, hardcore fly fishing rabbit hole you know that those things are true. And if you are singularly focused, you’ll learn those things once you burn out.

So go for a walk. Identify some plants. Climb a rock. Lay in the grass and watch the clouds.

Then, go fly fishing.


  1. Cory says:

    I’ve been making a habit to venture out and do other outdoor things lately. Finally got a mountain bike and that’s been a blast. My daughter and I have also been getting plenty of hiking in around the local area. It’s hard to pass up time fly fishing when it’s available, but it’s been really refreshing to get out an explore other areas of outdoor entertainment.

    • Matthew says:

      Awesome, Cory!

      Biking and fishing can really come together to maximize time, exercise, and getting to good spots. Sounds like you’ve got a good thing going.

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