I am no fly-fishing purist

I don’t think anyone will ever mistake me for an Orvis catalog model while I’m fishing. I’m not exactly the most fashionable angler you’ll find on a stretch of stream.

Even if I win the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes and find myself duded up in the fanciest fishing finery, I won’t become a fly-fishing purist.

I’ve never claimed to be a proper fly fisherman. I’m the type of angler who makes the purists of the sport wrinkle their noses and turn away in disgust. But that’s OK with me. I’d rather enjoy my time on the water than turn a supposedly fun activity into work. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with owning high-tech fly-fishing gear. I don’t have a problem with people who look like they came straight to the stream from an Orvis catalog shoot. What I have a problem with is the purist attitude.

I don’t don breathable waders and carry a portable fly-tying kit with me to the center of the river. As a matter of fact, I hardly ever even wear waders at all. I’ll pull on my camo duck hunting waders if the water’s too cold for wading without them, or I’ll just find a spot on the bank where I can get a good backcast.

Part of this is pure laziness. It takes effort to learn which bugs hatch at specific times of the year. I’d rather just take a close look at the insects buzzing around my head or bobbing on the surface of the water, then rifle through my fly boxes to find a pattern that looks like the critters the fish are eating.

On a couple of occasions, I’ve seen guys actually pumping a fish’s stomach to see what it had been feeding on. That’s taking it a bit far. If I ever use a stomach pump, I hope another angler beats me to death with my own fly rod.

Besides not wanting to do the work it takes to become the perfect fly fisherman, I want to keep my options open. I’ve been known to put the fly rod down and tie a Mepps on my spinning rod’s line or thread a worm on a hook. That’s a cardinal sin to a true fly angler.

No, I’ll never be the perfect fly fisherman. It just takes too much effort, and I enjoy fishing too much to make work of it. I probably won’t ever latch onto a state record cutthroat, but I’ll have a good time hooking the smaller fish that are easier to catch.