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PostPosted: April 26th, 2018, 10:21 am 

Joined: September 30th, 2007, 12:00 am
Posts: 5
I enjoyed the thread on Etiquette - A primer for beginners. It got me to thinking though, what is my responsibility, as an experienced flyfisherman, to beginner flyfishermen?

Considering that many industry leaders are concerned that flyfishing’s popularity is waning, I thought I’d start a different kind of “primer.”

Our sport clearly has too few kids, women, and minorities. We need to do a better job at being supportive to those new to our sport. The elitist attitude of some of our flyfishermen brothers doesn’t help in this pursuit. I remember 35 years ago, as a 10 year old kid with $3 in quarters in my pocket, I walked into Bob Leeman’s Trout Shop in Brewer with my grandmother. And Bob couldn’t have been more supportive, gracious, and generous to me. I probably walked out of the shop that day with $20 worth of merchandise and $3 still in my pocket. He gave me a bunch of Flyfishermen magazines from the 70’s which I still have to this day. Every time I run into Bob on the stream I always thank him.

My responsibility, and my new goal, is to be a Bob Leeman to kids getting into this sport. I haven’t done enough of this in the past. That’s on me and totally my fault. When I’m on the river and see or meet someone new to the sport, I’m going to take the time to ask if they’d like some help or instruction. Also, a friend’s young son has shown a strong interest in flyfishing. I’m going to make sure that I take him fishing this year and give him a casting lesson or two.

I’m sure there are lots of other things I can do. Any suggestions?

PostPosted: April 26th, 2018, 1:16 pm 
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Joined: January 24th, 2002, 1:00 am
Posts: 2348
Location: Lyons, CO
I don't know that you have much responsibility to beginning flyfishers, but it's clear that it will make you feel good to help out other people new to the sport. I certainly get a lot out of that. My last 3 days on stream, 1 was with two super experienced, top- notch flyfishers (and oarsmen) -- I was the weak link for sure and I've got to be close to if not past 1000 days on stream lifetime by now. I learned a bunch from them and had a great time. My next 2 days were with a moderately-experienced flyfisher and a definite beginner. I got just as much or more enjoyment out of the last two days, even though we didn't catch many fish.

The beginner was asking really good questions, like, what do you do with the tippet bits you cut off your fly? You put it in your pocket, not on the stream bank. I gave him some pointers, set him up with some flies that ought to work, and had him have at it. He didn't catch any, but he rose several to caddis dries, and you could tell he could see the magic in the whole thing and he seems likely to get after it in the future. That's really cool to see. His instincts were pretty good on the etiquette front the second day when we fished around other people more.

I think you have a responsibility to not act like an arse on stream and be patient with beginners, e.g. stop to have a conversation with somebody who just cut you off getting to a pool and describe how that's not done for XYZ reason. Teaching new folks the etiquette is a worthwhile investment, because next time, that guy or gal will talk to you before they jump in front of you. This goes with basic rule #1: Don't be a jerk (or insert your favorite synonym).

Now, in a global sense, I think we all have a responsibility to help young people find their way in the world, so if you want to take some youngsters under your wing to teach them fly fishing, that's great. Good for you!

PostPosted: April 26th, 2018, 6:01 pm 

Joined: December 5th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5340
Location: Manchester, ME
I think we all should do all we can go help beginners get started in the sport. And let me make a blatant plug here.

The Maine Council of TU is currently in the middle of planning for the TU Trout Camp, which will be held this year, as always, at Evergreen Campground on the Kennebec at Solon in the last week of June. 12 teens will get a full week of instruction in casting, tying, knots, wading, conservation, and every other aspect of our sport.

If anyone would like to serve as a fishing mentor, Greg Ponte is always looking for experienced folks to help out. PM me if you'd like his contact info.

More info here: http://www.troutcamp.org/

Since 2004 when the camp started, any kid who can get into the camp has been able attend, many of them with financial support to help defray the tuition cost. (And even the kids who can pay the full tuition are only covering about half the cost of the camp.

If you would like to help sponsor a kid, or provide general support to the camp, you can do so by mailing a donation to:

Don Abbott, Treasurer, Maine Council TU,
112 Bayview Street, Camden, ME 04843.

Meantime, take a kid fishing. It's a lot more rewarding than you might think. This summer will be my 9 year old nephew's first flyfishing for trout event. He's pretty good drifting live mackerel for stripers with his Dad, and he had a hell of a time two summers ago dragging a worm and spinner around a stocked trout pond, but it's time to expand his horizons a little on a remote brook trout pond. His Dad and I already have one scoped out.

PostPosted: April 27th, 2018, 8:41 am 
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Joined: October 16th, 2006, 12:00 am
Posts: 1414
Location: Harrison
I don't think fishing lacks for young enthusiasts. I see kids fishing all the time and my two (8 and 10) love it.
Fly fishing is a particular skill set that eludes many kids due to the patience required. Not just in getting fish on, but in practically everything; gearing up, tying knots, choosing what to tie on, surveying water and conditions and activity, casting, drifting, playing fish, etc.
And the most patient of all, waiting your turn to fish a prime spot. Which brings us to etiquette. The best thing we can teach kids is how to share water. And how to engage other anglers respectfully and with a friendly manner. And share information. Too often I encounter people who are evasive, dismissive and/or reluctant to share info. Successful results are not top-secret nuclear codes but you wouldn't know it sometimes :lol:
It's just fishing.

"It gets late early out there" - Yogi Berra

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