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January 2007 Cannon’s Creel

A Few Fly-Flingers' New Year's Resolutions

David Cannon | January 4, 2007

Unfortunately, by the time this magazine finds itself in mailboxes and on newsstands across the state, many of us will have already floundered our New Year’s resolutions. The lofty goals we set for ourselves — running two miles a day, no more dessert, reading every day — will prove too much to handle, even after only a day or two.

Maybe we fail miserably each year when it comes to our resolutions because the things we aspire to do we don’t necessarily enjoy.

So, let’s shoot for something related to what we love to do. Fly fish! And anyhow, the recreational aspect of life is one that shouldn’t be neglected, either, right? I will admit, however, that at times I have a somewhat difficult time thinking about fly fishing as recreation; it’s much more serious than that! It was historian, author and former park ranger Paul Schullery who said, “Calling fly fishing a hobby is like calling brain surgery a job.”

I tend to agree. There are so many facets that make up our obsession, it’s difficult to just stay put, plateau, or otherwise become satisfied with one’s own knowledge. In short, with casting, entomology, fly tying, all the different fishing techniques and the many knots, there is always something to learn.

So, with all of this in mind, I asked members of North Georgia Trout Online (NGTO) if they had any New Year’s resolutions concerning the sport. Guess what? They did. I’d like to share some with you.

Belfield Carter, brother of GON’s newest editor Nick Carter, who goes by “finless brown” on NGTO.org said, “I need to quit being so lazy and tie more flies. I spent too much money at Orvis this past year.” When informed of his brother’s reply, Nick agreed. “We’d talk about him tying some flies and me tying some flies, then sharing them. But when he would come up to my house, he’d only bring about four and I’d have a few dozen!” Nick said jokingly… well, kind of jokingly.

Kim Youngblood of Lawrenceville, whose alias on NGTO is “vidalia1,” stated that “B Kar Ma (another NGTO member) and I made a resolution in 2006 to fish new waters. We succeeded. I fished three new rivers and one new still-water location. I will also make this my resolution for 2007.” Kim continued by emphasizing that, “Contradictory to what anyone says, B Kar Ma nor myself hurt anyone this year. Except for Glen sinking his canoe, Brent breaking his rod tip, losing shoes, gear, etc… and that was on one trip… Oh heck, forget I even said that last part…”

Buck Henry of Kennesaw said, “Mine is to quit spending so much money on this addiction! I honestly have more fishing stuff than any sane man should have. I have been listening to that Dave Ramsey on the radio lately, and he has convinced me that I need to stop spending so much money on ‘stuff.’ ‘Stuff’ does not and never will include great deals on classic bamboo fly rods (my latest addiction). Somebody help me!”

NGTO’s “BrandonT” of Roswell said his resolution is to catch some 15-plus pound steelhead and salmon. Well Brandon, maybe a reservation at our own Dukes Creek is in order? You won’t catch any salmon, but some of those rainbows could pass as steelies!

Another member of NGTO, “DM6156,” said that he will take some “newbies” fishing, volunteer at more workdays, tie more flies, become a better caster (putting emphasis on staying out of the trees), take more pictures and catch more species of fish on the fly because, he said, “There’s more than trout in Georgia.” Not a bad list.

Personally, there are quite a few things on my resolution list for 2007.

After fishing the flats in Florida just a few months ago, I realized what a terrible caster I am. It’s something that goes unnoticed when you’re fishing streams no wider than an average bedroom. But when you’re on the flats, it’s still, it’s quiet, and you spot the tip of a redfish tail moving steadily through the grasses, your shortcomings become glaringly apparent.

So, fly-fishing resolution No. 1 for me is to become a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor. Will I ever teach casting professionally? I have no idea. Will preparing for the testing force me to become a more proficient caster? Without a doubt. And, I’ll be better prepared to teach any friends who come along with me to THE RIVER, or somewhere else like… well, I don’t believe I said.

My second fly-fishing resolution is to become well-read on anything and everything that is eaten by the species I will be pursuing. From bugs to baitfish, I know that if I understand what the fish eat, I’ll hook up with a few more of them this year.

Resolution two segues straight into the third, becoming better at fly-tying. I stumbled into a major pitfall in 2006, which was finding these discount websites that sell flies for as little as 65 cents apiece. This did not help me advance as a tyer. So this year I’m determined to sit down at the vise a few more times.
And finally, I’d really like to fish more in 2007 than I did in ’06 — and, not just for trout. I’ve recently realized that it’s not just trout fishing I love, it’s fishing with a fly rod.

So, what are your resolutions for 2007? If you haven’t made any yet, keep the words of expert duck hunter and author Doug Larsen in mind: “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.”

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