Fly fishing is something that you evolve into. I have yet to come across a fly casting toddler. Most of us started our trout fascination (fishing altogether) with something other than a fly rod. You evolved… Evolved into someone who relishes how a fish is caught and less on just catching fish.
My “Old Man” as I like to call him in a blue-collar way was a blue-collar trout fisherman. For catching trout, he liked nothing more than letting a fresh, juicy, hand-picked night crawler, roll along the bottom of a deep eddy with a split-shot. And he caught plenty.
The finer points of worm dunking are easy to learn, and it is more effective for bruiser browns, in my neck of the woods, than any other. Today. Tomorrow. Ten years from now. And while I don’t do it anymore, it was a technique that as a boy, I found to be perfect. When you master it, trout soon become something more to you than a dead fish on a stringer. You evolve. You become fascinated with the trout and where it lives.
Catching trout, holding a trout, even killing a trout…It is part of a trout fishers evolution. Worm dunking is as natural a way of catching trout as any other and how many of us learned, in our youth, the ways of trout in streams and rivers.
In today’s world, in my world, I frown on killing stream trout. Any trout. But I think there is a time and place for it. As a father of three, I know that a kid needs to possess something to be proud of it. And if it is a wriggling vibrant trout, clenched in the little hands of a boy or girl, destined to go home with them…That is ok.
While we as fly fishers become ever more entranced with the game, ever more expert in technique, ever more successful with fly patterns and equipment, perhaps we tend to forget to show the kids a trout. Let them touch it, squeeze it, maybe even eat it. Or let it go. But bringing them into a world we have grown to love so passionate, in our adult lives, in a pursuit they can learn to evolve in, for themselves, while finding an understanding and relationship with the natural world, a respect for the trout and the waters where they live, something to find fascinating for the rest of their lives.
Or, you know, there is golf.