|Column nr.9 2001|
| FLY CONSCIOUSNESS
It has repeatedly occurred to me as I pursue the outdoor life. A kind of religious code of naturalist ethics in regard to how one behaves within the fragile world of Mother Nature has consumed me. Fly fishers perhaps more then any other naturalist except; bird watchers, surfers, mountain climbers, become one with the waters they stand in. Many times in my sporting life I have seen evidence of human disrespect and disregard for the sanctity of our wild places. Deep in Alaska a few years ago it became quite clear just how delicate and finely balanced a wild place could be. Walking for miles and not seeing anything remotely looking like evidence of man. No empty soda cans, wrappers, bits and pieces of discarded mass consumables. In California while fly-fishing on many remote rivers and streams far away from the maddening crowd, one can still experience the essence of true wildness. In America we still have isolated pockets of this pure wildness and fly fishers, backpackers, and hunters can and often do still taste it!
When I come across a perfect piece of water with songbirds and spirit awakening smells of wild grass and the air that dances off ripples. It has the same comforting effect it had when I was seven years old. I make every effort to contribute to the perpetuation of the wildness that still exists; by never leaving any evidence behind I was there in the first place. No broken tree limbs, disturbed river or stream edges. When I tie flies or change flies, no cut bits and pieces left behind. When I need to wade, it is with minimal impact and I usually work the section in a 360-degree circle and get out of the water exactly how I walked into it.
HOW HEALTHY ARE YOUR HOME WATERS?
Hopefully all fly fishers who read this monthly column now in its 3rd year realize the impact of stomping around in those shiny new waders? River bottoms and stream floors all have one survival aspect in common. Trout and many other fresh water game fish use natural depressions as resting and feeding lane areas. After you had your fun splashing and stomping around these often-delicate areas. The resident fish are left to sort out your mess and rearrange feeding stations. It sounds petty perhaps, but is it really necessary to almost vandalize waters you may want to come back to soon? When educated fly fishers realize the desperate need we all share in keeping our home waters in prime regenerating condition. Our collective future will be that much more secure and our waters self-propagating. The work of people like publisher Frank Amato who has been a longtime advocate of restoring fly fishing waters to a natural regenerating state is commendable, insightful.
It is not just the biologist/scientist who can make reasonable local river stream evaluations. Those educators reading this column might consider class projects focusing on local river/stream evaluation. If you find your local waters to be almost barren and in need of more balanced natural foods for insects and ph balance conducive to high growth rates. You and your students can restore small streams and begin programs in local communities to help raise funds for bigger water restorations. Fish food pellets exist that slowly degenerate and feed fingerlings that might otherwise starve? Do you have any real idea exactly how many fingerlings are dropped every year into almost sterile waters in your area? Why not make a few phone calls and find out?
HELP HEAL THE WOUNDS
This would be a wonderful class project for almost all the early to late grades. If anyone out there wants to take a shot at river/stream evaluation and restoration, please send me an e-mail and I will help anyway I can. Many famous people are regular readers of this monthly column including ex-U.S.A Presidents, movie stars, and athletes. If any of you high profilers want to get your hands wet and your heart filled with joy, maybe you might like to jump on the water restoration raft with me? Jimmy Carter builds new homes for the under privileged. Bill Clinton is busy giving very expensive speeches about the state of the union. Maybe we might consider the state of our nations natural river/stream health as just as important? Ok, Ok, that will be quite enough sermonizing for this month. Maybe it will be you who begins a movement to reenergize your local waters?
LET ME INTRODUCE MYSELF
Greetings to all avid flyfishingconnection.com readers and fans. I feel quite honored to have been asked to help represent the West Coast of this blessed land. To those who have not read my monthly column or any of the feature articles written over the last many years. I say a hearty hello and lets get ready to get dead serious about the art of fly-fishing, fresh or salt. I have been an absolute maniac outdoorsmen/fly fisher/naturalist for over forty years. I have lived and thrown flies all over the world including: Asia, Vietnam, Canada, Baja, Alaska, most all of American west, upstate New York, and more waters then I can recall My life consists of either writing about my fly fishing adventures via my monthly column on fly fishing "Dan Fallons World Of Fly Fishing", feature articles on the sport, teaching fly fishing at two schools in California, speaking at clubs of all kinds. In short I have completely given into spending the rest of my natural life either in the water throwing my own creations or writing about a record attempt never before attempted? As in is my continuing adventure to set new benchmark targets for good size fish on light tippet & light Bamboo. My thirst never quenches for new angles on this sport, with an eye toward the more extreme or remote rarely fished areas.
In the middle of this complete emersion into fly-fishing as a lifestyle, publishing art features, character studies, plays, including a series of features on woman fly fishers occupy whats left of my time. These days a worldwide network of fellow fly guides and I plot and plan next record attempts with light Bamboo. Costa Rica, Botswana Africa, Alaska, Virgin Islands, and many other remote venues loom ahead.
The masters of this domain and I have made a pact together to bring you a good slice of whats going on in fly fishing all over the world. Each month I feature advanced world-class guides and fly fishers of both genders who excel. Thank you for your time and back to the regular format of this monthly column dedicated to all of you who love this complex sport as deeply as I do.
ALCATRAZ "The Rock"
One of my earliest memories is of hunting big Striped Bass on the 1950s era San Francisco Bay. I recall how exciting it was to hear the loud sound of the guard tower scream out at fisherman or any boats getting a little too close to the Rock "Alcatraz Federal Prison" "Attention, you are about to be fired upon if you continue to close in on the this federal prison, this is your last warning!" At least I think thats the way the guard worded it? My dad and uncles were serious accomplished outdoorsmen, fishermen, and abalone divers. San Francisco Bay has always been filled with great game species like annual Striped Bass runs that can be enjoyed with fly rods.
I grew up as a fifth generation San Franciscan Irishman in a family obsessed with the outdoors. Every weekend was spent either diving for Abalone off the rocky California coast line or digging clams and surf fishing for Striped Bass, perch, salmon. After these excursions either on the many beaches or on fast fishing boats. It was home to the city for feasts with friends that often lasted into the wee hours as the sun went down over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was an innocent vibrant time to grow up in this magical city by the bay. I can easily recall how painfully bright and shiny the surf was in the 1950s era San Francisco. As a little 7-year-old kid with several pals, we would take a bucket of fresh crabmeat and spend hours catching several species of perch from the piers around the city. These early days outdoors with relatives and friends, cemented my love and desire to spend as much time as possible standing in ice-cold water. It is during these endless moments early or late while standing in running waters on streams and rivers. I feel most complete and at ease with life in general. Fly fishers more then most are blessed being able to actually touch, feel the waters, smell the many exotic scents around running waters We are the first to know when, all is healthy or not. I have come to believe we have a collective duty to those who follow us to keep the water clean and regenerating at all costs. It is almost as if we fly fishers are the chosen ones in regard to first alerts on healthy waters.
It is said less then five percent of all fishermen are fly fishers? If there are so few of us now, it follows there may be much fewer of us later? In these times when the last wild untouched land such as the Arctic Wild Life Refuge in Alaska or the last truly wild lands left in Africa, South America, are under constant threat! We, all of us naturalist types have to keep sounding off about saving these last pieces of the once wild puzzle that is this little blue marble called Earth. I have been honored to spend time with and fly fish with many famous contemporary newsmakers. I have contacted the Whitehouse early this year in regard to guiding our new President. In a letter sent to me a few months ago, it was indicated at some time in future that may happen? If so, I will lobby to throw flies at Lake Marie Alaska, a true wilderness King Salmon retreat.
DISTANT RUMBLINGS & UPDATES
Karen Graham 27 time Vogue Magazine cover girl and noted fly fisher checked in. It seems the fly gods have been smiling broadly lately for Karen! Newly married to an avid outdoorsmen and hosting ESPNs "In Search of Fly Waters" has kept this dedicated fly fisher in joyous deep water. The popular ESPN series begins in January and airs on Sundays. Look for a special follow up feature on Ms. Graham coming soon. The feature I wrote about her fly exploits titled "Butterfly & the Trout" has been one of the most hit features in the last few years.
PERFECT XMAS GIFT
So you have a fly fisher at home who seems to have every gadget man creates tied to his or her vest? You have no idea what to put under the Christmas tree this year? No worries mate, my limited edition custom made exotic wood handled traveling fly rod designed by Ira Stutsman and myself is still available. This is perhaps the most unusual hand made fly rod in the world. This is a limited edition run of only 100 rods. We are now in the mid teens in regard to availability. This is the perfect balanced traveling rod, sighed numbered and created as an everyday working heirloom to be handed down for generations. Many famous fly fishers have acquired the first 15 and we expect the run to be available for only a short period. Details can be found on my website at www.danfallonflyfishing.com.
Those who have faithfully followed this monthly column over the years are aware I have many international fly-fishing trips coming up next year. The destinations include: Botswana Africa, Kamchatka Russia, Costa Rica, Alaska, California, Baja Mexico and several others. If your up for serious global fly fishing opportunities, contact me at either this column e-mail or my own website mentioned above. I have room on each trip for experienced or novice fly fishers of either gender. If youre concerned with your experience level or your age, please be assured as a fly-fishing guide, teacher, and writer with over thirty years in the game. I will accommodate any serious fly fisher and guide them anywhere on this planet anytime the fish rise! Until next month, let all of us all over this beautiful world take a deep breath, step back and start working together to save this place from our own ongoing self-destructive ways.
Written by Dan Fallon, Nov. 2001 ©
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