The Executive’s Guide to Fly Fishing was hatched out of a need to streamline the learning process and eliminate the unnecessary and unimportant information that can be overwhelming to the newcomer. There’s also a need to explain the difficulties everyone encounters as they take up the sport. These difficulties can become so frustrating that many people give it up before ever enjoying the fly fishing experience. I’ve been fly fishing for so long, over 30 years, that it all seemed to be a logical process. However, looking back on it, I remember all the trial and error I went through to get to that comfort level. Learning casting from the wrong books, buying the wrong gear, it was a fairly painful process. I surprised myself by sticking with it.
It wasn’t until my friend, Mike, recently began to take up fly fishing that I realized there’s too much useless and confusing information thrown at the beginner. Mike was 54 at the time and the owner of 3 small manufacturing companies. When he asked me to help him get into it, I looked at all the information that he had to learn and I wasn’t sure where to begin. I couldn’t help but think of the “old dogs and new tricks” adage. I decided to eliminate all the confusing and unnecessary information that usually leads to frustration and an early surrender to the “dark side.” We focused purely on the fundamentals and ignored the rest. Another fly fishing buddy, Tim, and I walked through the learning process with him step by step, and we were happy with the results. With few setbacks, Mike progressed quickly and is now a confirmed fly fisher, having caught brown trout, rainbow trout, steelhead, bass, and bluegill. He’s hooked, so to speak.
In seeing Mike’s progress, I saw an opportunity to help others get into the sport as painlessly and as quickly as possible. While there is no magical solution that brings instantaneous success, focusing on fundamentals and ignoring unnecessary information provides the best results.
Information I label as useless in the beginning may not be useless later. For example, here we look at only two casts, the overhead cast and the roll cast. Learning those two will enable the novice to fish in most places around the world. After the fly fisher becomes proficient with those, he or she will want to learn more advanced casting techniques. Only then will that information become pertinent. In the beginning, having someone try to learn 5 different types of casts is detrimental to the learning process and could easily become discouraging to the student.
One of the many things I like about fly fishing is that there are few absolutes. Ten experts could easily give 10 different answers to the same question. Therefore, The Executive’s Guide to Fly Fishing conveniently sets up some of its own definitions. Each subject of this book covers all the essentials and some of the details. This is all you need to be a successful fly fisher. Later, if you feel the need, you can find volumes of fly fishing books in any good fly shop or bookstore on any subject you desire.