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Being relatively new to fly fishing (about a year now), my conventional tackle fishing partners are all wondering why! Why am I going thru the difficulties? Why am I having to deal with all the things that fly fishing encompasses, that conventional tackle doesn’t. A very good friend of mine that Ive known for over 20 years and have fished millions of times together all over Florida, asked me why I put myself thru it?
I bought a flyrod on a whim....wanting to fish the Swanee river for redbellies. I used to use Rebel crickhoppers with my dad years ago, and it was as close to fly fishing as you could get throwing a small topwater lure like that and I thought the hopper flies looked awesome...so I bought a cheap bass pro special 6wt. Before going to the Swanee (driving that far) I stayed close to home and tried slinging a fly (after watching numerous YouTube videos of the techniques) in a small river near the house. That first cast ruined me! I landed a hopper fly close to bank and had a monster red belly crush it. Needless to say....the hook was set! I then got more and more into it, bought a ton of hopper flies and fished several places around the local area. I got better and better at casting. I then decided to step it up a notch and try saltwater. I quickly learned it was hard! The wind, the current, the tides....made it extremely more difficult than the calm protected freshwater river I had been fishing. Frustration didn’t diminish the enthusiasm though. As I learned more I found out I probably needed better tackle and some things to help organize the line and keep thing from hanging up. I really took the plunge...went to a real fly shop. Spoke with some people and did some research on the various manufactures and decided to buy a real flyrod. I bought a Scott Meridian 8wt. The wife was a little surprised when that visa bill came in. Whew....honey dew list grew exponentially!!
Well, several fishing trips later and catching a few reds on the new rod cemented the addiction. Now, my old fishing partners are wondering “what the heck, why are you going thru all that? I can cast 150 yards with my 10pd braid and a mirror-lure, why do you limit yourself? Why are you casting 4 times to my one, just to put a fly in the right spot?” A bunch of those type questions. We have fished together forever, caught monster trout (32 inch fatties), huge reds (45 inches), ancient Black drum (55 pds)...and a host of others. Done all the numbers thing. Caught the massive amounts....done all that. I tried to explain to him that it is all about recreation now. Enjoyment...having fun, not counting the carcasses at the cleaning station. He replied with, “so, you like trying to cast 60 ft into a 15 knot headwind, with a fly that weighs nothing, and having a red’s tail wagging at you 65 ft away?” I replied with, “man....you just don’t understand, that frustration, is literally some of the fun.” Its hard....its frustrating....it makes you think different. It makes you a hunter and a fisherman at the same time, and it’s completely addictive. Has anyone else experienced the same thing with their conventional tackle fishing partners??
 

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Yup. Absolutely. All the time with my neighbors and in-laws.

In the salt, I think its more about sight casting vs blind casting.

Two completely different perspectives and approaches.
 

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Almost everyone I fish with is wondering why I fly fish. I will even take a fly rod when fishing with them while they are throwing soft plastics. I catch a lot less fish now, but the satisfaction per fish is much higher for me.
 

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I feel more confident with a fly rod in my hand in many situations. As crboggs mentioned it's the difference between sight fishing and blind casting. If I want to get my blind casting fix I will head to my lake and sling a plastic frog or worm for the morning. Otherwise I much prefer the interaction of a well placed fly. For me watching the eat on something I tied is what keeps me coming back for more.
 

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Conventional fishing for me is like hunting with a rifle pointing at a deer feeder that goes off every morning at 7am with hopes of seeing that big buck that’s keeps showing up on the game cam.
Flyfishing is like walking and stalking the ranch with a bow in hand and having to wait for the deer to get within 20-40 yards to take an accurate and ethical shot.
I prefer the latter.
 

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I've said this before. I believe that anglers evolve in distinct stages. First, it's about catching a fish. Then it's about catching a lot of fish. Then, one strives to catch a big fish. After that, a whole lot of big fish. All of these stages are focused on bragging rights; on impressing others with your angling prowess. Eventually, many of us progress to the point where we no longer care about impressing others. It becomes about self-gratification. It's purely personal. That's when many anglers limit themselves to fly fishing, when many hunters limit themselves to the bow, or the handgun, or the camera. You're in it solely for the satisfaction of personal goals, and what anyone else thinks is immaterial. Nirvana, if you will.
 

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I've said this before. I believe that anglers evolve in distinct stages. First, it's about catching a fish. Then it's about catching a lot of fish. Then, one strives to catch a big fish. After that, a whole lot of big fish. All of these stages are focused on bragging rights; on impressing others with your angling prowess. Eventually, many of us progress to the point where we no longer care about impressing others. It becomes about self-gratification. It's purely personal. That's when many anglers limit themselves to fly fishing, when many hunters limit themselves to the bow, or the handgun, or the camera. You're in it solely for the satisfaction of personal goals, and what anyone else thinks is immaterial. Nirvana, if you will.
This! I don't think it could be said any better.
 

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I've said this before. I believe that anglers evolve in distinct stages. First, it's about catching a fish. Then it's about catching a lot of fish. Then, one strives to catch a big fish. After that, a whole lot of big fish. All of these stages are focused on bragging rights; on impressing others with your angling prowess. Eventually, many of us progress to the point where we no longer care about impressing others. It becomes about self-gratification. It's purely personal. That's when many anglers limit themselves to fly fishing, when many hunters limit themselves to the bow, or the handgun, or the camera. You're in it solely for the satisfaction of personal goals, and what anyone else thinks is immaterial. Nirvana, if you will.
Nailed it
 

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It's about the challenge. If I catch a couple of fish per outing, then I am happy. If not, I am blessed to be able to go and try. With that said, I have found that I still catch as many fish as ever before and out-fish my conventional friends quite often with the fly rod. And once you do catch that big speckled trout, or whatever, you can say that you have done something that most top-notch conventional fishermen have never done.
 

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I’ve found that conventional tackle will generally produce more reds than fly fishing, but it’s not all that uncommon to catch more specks on flies than on plastic or even live shrimp at times.

One day I paddled put to a reef in St. Charles Bay and was catching specks in the adjacent gut as the tide ran out. Five waders on the other side were watching me. I hollered at them to come on, there were plenty of fish. With two of them throwing live shrimp under a cork and the other three throwing plastic, I outfished them by a huge margin with my fly. That’s happened more than once.
 

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If you are congratulating yourself for fishing with a fly rod then you are not as far along the angling spectrum as you think.
It is easy to get stuck in a "purist phase" where you only fish a fly rod because your self-esteem demands it.

A flyrod is just another way to fish.
Don't get caught up in thinking that a fly rod is the "most noble" way to fish.
Such a thing does not exist.
 

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The others have said it well, the stalking, catching a fish on a lure you painstakingly made. I’d add a couple more aspects, one is that you can’t flyfish on the rail of a party boat next to a bunch of other anglers; it forces you to have a bit of distance and that often leads to solitude. A second is that to catch a fish you have to put a number of skills together including being in the right place, completing a good cast which is in itself a satisfying feeling, and then you get to see and feel the eat. When everyone used mono that had stretch in it the strike felt through the fly line was all by itself because you could feel a lot more through the fly line than through mono, now with braid it is closer but still that feel through the fly line is pretty awesome. Fly fishing for trout is also different...you know the fish are there, it is a question of cracking a code with your choice and presentation of flies that can be satisfying. You can go for two hours fishless, then switch from a dry to a nymph and have three fish in ten minutes and know that you figured out what the fish are feeding on.
 

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If you are congratulating yourself for fishing with a fly rod then you are not as far along the angling spectrum as you think.
It is easy to get stuck in a "purist phase" where you only fish a fly rod because your self-esteem demands it.

A flyrod is just another way to fish.
Don't get caught up in thinking that a fly rod is the "most noble" way to fish.
Such a thing does not exist.
The point is not which method is the noblest. That’s an individual opinion. The point is which method is the most rewarding. I’d rather catch one red on the fly than a dozen on the levelwind. I simply derive more enjoyment from it. And any method that increases the challenge can be said to be nobler.
 

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If you are congratulating yourself for fishing with a fly rod then you are not as far along the angling spectrum as you think.
It is easy to get stuck in a "purist phase" where you only fish a fly rod because your self-esteem demands it.

A flyrod is just another way to fish.
Don't get caught up in thinking that a fly rod is the "most noble" way to fish.
Such a thing does not exist.
A boat load of googans can’t just show up with very little, if any, fishing experience and grab fly rods and load up a box of fish like this. I get sick of seeing these meat haul Facebook and Instagram hero shots all the time like these guys really have great fishing skills. Any group of knuckleheads can call a croaker guide here and rape our fishery. BUT IT’S LEGAL!
I love my conventional gear but fly fishing is so satisfying.
4DB44032-D2DF-4FE9-A7C1-8109A0259B96.jpeg
 

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I've said this before. I believe that anglers evolve in distinct stages. First, it's about catching a fish. Then it's about catching a lot of fish. Then, one strives to catch a big fish. After that, a whole lot of big fish. All of these stages are focused on bragging rights; on impressing others with your angling prowess. Eventually, many of us progress to the point where we no longer care about impressing others. It becomes about self-gratification. It's purely personal. That's when many anglers limit themselves to fly fishing, when many hunters limit themselves to the bow, or the handgun, or the camera. You're in it solely for the satisfaction of personal goals, and what anyone else thinks is immaterial. Nirvana, if you will.
This ... exactly this ...
 

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For me it's simple. While certifiably inept at it I just love casting a fly rod. When I go I try hard to catch fish, but if I don't it's okay. I have been outdoors in a beautiful place casting a fly rod.
 

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To each their own. I love flyfishing, especially salt, and I enjoy spin fishing for bass, especially love surfcasting with a longer spin outfit like when I was a kid with my uncle both with bamboo spin rods. I admire all fishers who support conservation.
 
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