The key to becoming a better fly angler

Chances are you already know what it is, you've just convinced yourself otherwise
Fly casting instructor John Juracek (photo: Ken Takata).

Happiness, enjoyment, and success. Those three words are almost interchangeable when it comes to fly fishing. If we’re going to enjoy ourselves on the water, and if we’re going to head home with a smile rather than a frown, we need to be successful; if not all the time, then at least on a fairly regular basis.

It’s actually pretty simple. “Success,” however we choose to measure it, leads directly to enjoyment and happiness. That’s just the way it works.

Fire season rages ... in May

Wildfire seasons are starting earlier and lasting longer
Firefighters, heavy equipment, and aircraft continue to work tirelessly to construct fire breaks in the Slave Lake area of Alberta (photo: Alberta Wildfire).

Late last summer, I drove across parts of British Columbia, Alberta and much of Saskatchewan enroute to La Ronge, where I and a group of friends caught a float plane to a remote North Woods lodge to go fishing for pike.

Review: Simms Essential Gear Bag 90L

A fishing bug-out-bag that’s ready to go whenever — and wherever — you are
Photo: Shane Townsend

Prepare for the general so you can respond to the specific. That’s the nut of emergency preparedness done right. It’s also a solid guiding principle when it comes to being ready to bug-out for a fishing trip anytime the opportunity arises.

After several months of use, I can say the Simms Essential Gear Bag is built for it.

For my friend Tom Davis

For now they endure, at a place called Eagle Falls
Photo: Shawn P. / cc2.0 modified

The letter came out of the clear blue sky.

It was a long time ago, and I’m not going to claim it was one of those the-day-JFK-was-shot events that you retain in perfect memory. But for more than 40 years I’ve been trying to make sense of what lay behind that letter—the needs, the hopes, the desires—and I can’t swear I’m any closer to understanding it now than I ever was.

Review: Simms Bounty Hunter 100 Roller

Luggage that makes it easy to travel with all your fly fishing gear
Photo: Shane Townsend

Americans travel for work. Many of us do anyway. Last year alone, we took some 460 million business trips. Most involved air travel. And, nearly half allowed for what the U.S. Travel Association calls “a leisure component.” That last bit is fodder for hope for my fellow anglers with the fly. It means sometimes we get to fish new water.

Even when my odds of getting out are only one in a million, I now elect the Lloyd Christmas model of optimism:

“So, you’re telling me there’s a chance?”