Walking Between 2 Worlds

Even the selfies are different depending on which world you're in.
      In many ways I consider myself lucky to have not spent a lifetime fishing.  Since I came to fishing later in life I'm not bogged down by the dogma associated with different forms of angling.  I don't believe that there is any advantage to being a one trick pony when it comes to pursuing my favorite species of fish.  In fact I often feel sorry for the people that I meet at expos that says things like, "No I don't fish with chicken feathers" or, "There is no art in chucking wood and treble hooks at fish."  I believe that how an angler chooses to fish is irrelevant.  The fact that anybody would judge how another person goes about catching fish is just ridiculous in my book.
My favorite reels from both worlds.
     It's been my experience in life that most people are looking for an identity.  A group that they can belong to.  I forget sometimes that some people only fly fish.  They even talk down about those who fish any other way.  That somehow the other person is less of an "angler."  I thought this was just part of the fly fishing scene.  In fact one of my favorite magazines even has a separate price printed on the front for "bait fisherman."  However it turns out that it's not just the fly fisherman with the messed up view when it comes to acceptance on the water.  I distinctly remember my partner being mocked last summer during musky league by competitors in a nearby boat because he was fishing with one those, "fly wienies."
     My ability to walk between these two distinct worlds has even caused confusion in my dealings with others when fishing.  I've had times that I have invited my "fly fishing only" friends out on the water only to have them look shocked when I pulled a spinning rod out of the back of my truck.  The same holds true for the guys I fish with on "conventional gear" when I arrive at the lake for some bass fishing and they look disgusted because I'm carrying a fly rod.  Most of the anglers I fish with seem to strongly identify with one world or the other.  When somebody asks what would you use to fish a certain area and you tell them a Dahlburg Diver and they don't fly fish it causes issues.  Want to have a lot of fun? Try explaining in a text message what a 3 way bottom rig is to a guy that only fly fishes.  Even clients of mine seem to scoff at the fact that my backpack usually has a baitcasting rod strapped to one side and a fly rod strapped to the other.
Both caught from shore and released happy and healthy.
     This need to fish one way or the other is really evident when I show off a catch.  The "traditionalists" say it doesn't count if it's not on a fly.  Who cares if it's on a fly or not?  I argue that it does count, because I have the damn photo in my hand to prove that I caught it.  Although the bait fisherman certainly have "traditionalists" too.  One time I had a guy argue with me over a musky that I caught on a fly because I obviously had, "No concern about the well being of the fish."  Why?  Because fly anglers always play fish to long and put them through unneeded stress.  In fact he said, "I bet that fish died 20 minutes after you released it" "You should be ashamed of yourself!"  Why?  Because I caught and released a nice musky?  The CPR practices are the same.  The truth was he had no experience in fly fishing for muskies, but he had heard some idiot give a speech somewhere about how fly anglers can't horse a fish in because of the light rod actions so now he's a freaking expert.  The truth is if you lose the stereotypes you'll find that you probably catch more fish.
     On more than one occasion I've learned a new technique either online or at a seminar and instantly thought about how well that would work if I transferred it into another world.  From topwater tactics to bottom bouncing rigs I've learned all kinds of cool tricks from both types of fishing.  From fly fishing gear that can be used to aid me in conventional fishing (floatant).  To neat swimbait tactics that can be just as effective with a streamer pattern.  Not to mention all the flies that I've found can be thrown with a spinning rod when rigged below a bobber.  The crossover ability you get when you are familiar with different types of angling is amazing.  You will never be exposed to this if you allow yourself to be limited to only one type of fishing.
     So the next time you're at an event or out on the water, don't discount what the other guy is using.  If you're fly fishing take a look at what the bait fisherman is using and see if you can recreate it.  Same thing goes for the guy with the conventional gear.  Take the time to learn what each world offers and I guarantee you'll become a better angler.  At the very least, you'll have an excuse to meet some cool people and maybe buy some new fishing gear.  Until next time...
I don't care how it's caught, the proof is in the pictures.
     Tight Lines.

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