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Flying Solo

March 28, 2012

The guys at Gink and Gasoline are doing great work. They cover the gamut of fly fishing and do it damn well. A recent post by Kent lauded the benefits of fishing in tandem. As I read it, I totally agreed. Until I didn’t.

Whether or not I prefer fishing with friends is a debate I’ve held with myself a few times. The Gink pretty well covered all the benefits to fishing with a partner, both practical and relational. So I’ll present to you the argument for solo.

I’m competitive. 

I mostly fish with some fishy dudes. Fishier than me. They catch more than I do and it I nearly always lose at buck-buck-buck (or beer-beer-beer). When I fish alone, success is graded on a sliding scale with X axis being size and number of fish caught and Y being “the Experience”. When I fish with others, there’s only fish.

I try new water. 

I’ve got spots. When I fish with the fellas, we hit up all the spots. I’m always skeptical to try new water when I’m with friends. Know why? See above. I can’t stand trying a new spot and having it not produce if all I care about is landing fish. When I’m on my own, I make it a point to try new runs. I do more hiking. I cast less and observe more. It makes me a better fisherman and it scores big on “the Experience” axis.

I can fish as long or as short as I like.

Sometimes, I am willing to drive 80 miles one way after work for an hour of fishing. Nobody wants to come with me. Why would they? If a buddy called me and asked if I wanted to spend three hours in the truck for 60 minutes of river time, I’d tell him… well I wouldn’t tell him anything because my friends aren’t idiots. But once or twice a season, I do that very thing. On the flip side of that, it sucks to be forced to pull off the water when you’re working fish so that your partner can make a dinner date. Of course, it sucks for him too, so it’s not like I’d hold it against him.

So, I said all that to say this: Given the choice, I’d usually pick sharing the river with a partner. If it weren’t for my friends who fish, I’d probably have drifted away from the game at some point. I’m grateful for the guys I fish with, and I’m lucky to have a wife who digs it, too. But there is something to say for time spent alone; just a man, alone in an experience.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Gregg Martin permalink
    April 11, 2012 13:39

    Great! I am from Boise, read your recent blogs, nice. I am not a trout bum in that I gave it up some time ago, well almost, due to highly unethical behavoir of trout guys on 2 local tailwaters I’ve fished for years. You know them. Absolute breeding ground of morons, or, where they congregate. About that time I started to read of and catch carp on purpose and have not looked back. Your defense of your title earlier was classy.

    Best, Gregg

    • April 14, 2012 21:39

      Gregg, thanks for taking the time to visit and drop a note. I do know the rivers and character that frequent them, both good and bad. I love that you say “catching carp on purpose”. Carp on the fly is on my fly fishing checklist for the year. Hit me up if you ever feel like showing a fella the ropes. Thanks again, I hope you continue to check in. /Stephen

  2. Gregg Martin permalink
    April 17, 2012 13:11

    Stephen,

    Any time from a month ago to November in some places. Super willing to help as I can!

    gregg

  3. Andrew Nelson permalink
    May 11, 2012 00:13

    I’ll go, always.

  4. Gregg Martin permalink
    May 11, 2012 17:16

    Andrew,

    If you mean me, and carpin, I’m up for it any time I’m able. Do mostly small ponds around here, looking for better access on the Snake and other places. It’s what I do now. I’ve some peculiar limitations though. John Montana at Carp on the Fly and Barry Schrader of Drifting the Prairie Ocean Journal kindly included me on their blogs recently. You may decide the places I go are not for you. Love it though!

    Gregg

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