Have you ever considered learning how to fly fish?

When I first started fly fishing in the mid-1980’s, it was regarded as an expensive, elitist type of hobby that most outdoorsmen avoided.

Then “the movie” came out in 1992. I am referring to “A River Runs Through It.”

The movie, based on a semi-autobiographical story written by Norman McLean about his early life in Montana, motivated lots of middle-aged guys (and gals) to find out first-hand what fly fishing was all about.

And they discovered, to their surprise, that fly fishing added a new dimension to their lives. Some would say it could become addictive.

Fly fishing is one of those hobbies that is boundless. In other words, there are so many aspects to the sport that once you get “hooked,” you will never get bored, whether you learn to tie your own flies, build your own fly rod, or fish for all types of fish, not just trout.

Fly Fishing

Here are some things to consider if you have the slightest interest in learning how to fly fish.

First, fly fishing is not nearly as expensive as it used to be. Sure, you can pay $2,000 for a new fly rod and $500 for a fly reel, but you certainly don’t have to.

Today you can get completely outfitted, without going on eBay, for less than $200. Look at it this way; it is a lot cheaper than becoming a largemouth bass fisherman.

A fly fisherman does not need a $30,000 bass boat, a $30,000 rig to haul the bass boat and tons of money for those lures that cost over $8 apiece and wind up high in a tree or permanently snagged underwater.

Don’t tell the wife, but we could be looking at an ultimate cost of $100 per fish per year for those largemouths, couldn’t we?

Second, fly fishing isn’t limited to catching trout in the far-away Rockies; you can trout fish right here in the Ozarks.  But beyond the trout fishing, many fly fishermen enjoy fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, and even carp.

And yes, there are plenty of saltwater opportunities to consider as well, such as bonefish, tarpon and steelhead.
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Third, it is not that hard to learn how to fly fish. Personally, I think it is easier than learning how to use a baitcaster. But you don’t have to go it alone.

There are plenty of fly fishing clubs and fly shops that provide free lessons on everything involving fly fishing. And if you live in the St. Louis area, there is an outstanding fly fishing club that would really be helpful for a beginner.

I am referring to the Ozark Fly Fishers, a club that has been in existence since 1971; I have been member for more than 20 years.

The club caters to all people interested in fly fishing — beginners as well as experienced fly fishermen and children, as well as adults.

For a reasonable annual fee of $30, you receive a monthly newsletter filled with helpful information, a monthly meeting with an experienced speaker for each meeting, free clinics for casting and fly tying, and several club outings each year to places such as the Eleven Point River, the Current River and other local streams.

But more importantly, you have the opportunity to connect with other outdoorsmen who love to fish as much as you do.

The club has a website, www.ozarkflyfishers.org, and applications for membership can be downloaded from that website.

If you want more information, you can also contact Al Bourisaw, the membership chairman for the club, at (314) 952-9865; Al’s email is troutal@att.net.

Friends have asked me why fly fishing would be anymore fun than using a spinning rod or baitcaster.

There are plenty of reasons, but the one thing that really stands out for me can be summed up in three words: top-water fishing.

Most fishermen I know love it when fish bite on a surface lure or fly. And with a fly rod, you have so many more opportunities to fish topwater.

To me that is reason enough.

(Bill Hoagland can be reached at billhoagland70@gmail.com.)

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