Back In My Day

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Back In My Day

by Ron Newman

Back in my time, the fish were so big that if you used anything less than 10 lb test leader you were guaranteed to break off on fish. Of course, then I was using a broomstick for a rod, a clothesline for a fly line and some 12-year-old leader I had salvaged off my granddad's old spinning reel.

Back in my time the fish were about twice as big as they are today. I can even remember the exact time when this drastic reduction in size occurred. It happened at precisely the time that my wife bought me a good set of scales for weighing my fish.

Back in my time we had belly boats. Of course then you had to check with your dad to see if you could use, and patch, the old inner tube in the garage. You also had to sit in them with your legs dangling over the side but that inconvenience sure made them a lot cheaper.

Back in my day we didn't have Chironomid fishing. We used some flies representing gnats, midges and mosquitoes and those mostly as dry flies. I've heard that Chironomids have only evolved in the last 30 years as that as a result of nuclear testing.

When I was young the only bugs we tried to 'imitate' with flies were the mayfly and black and orange bumblebees. The mayflies were an eastern influence and the black and orange bumblebees were just to give the fish a sporting chance.

Back in my day it took about 4 hours to drive into most any of our lakes in four-wheel drive. It only took about 2 hours to drive back cause we used a technique we called the "downhill, out-of-control, slide in the mud, sideways shimmy". With today's good roads, the younger generation has lost something.

Back in my day it took twice as long to get to a lake, we had half the amount time for fishing, caught twice as many fish and killed virtually everything. Perhaps that explains why we are having problems in some of our lakes today.

Back in my day fly fishermen actually spent the day fishing, sat around a campfire that night and tried to create a bigger lie about their days catch than their buddies. Today we watch 'Fishin' Canada' on TV, followed by a flyfishing video made by a local yokel, and then get on the internet to brag about our flyfishing knowledge to people we don't even know. And all of that without having actually gotten near a fishing lake or stream.

Back in my day I could fly fish all day without seeing another fisherman. Without witnesses it sure made bragging about my days catch a lot easier.

Back in my day, fly-fishing was a rich man's sport. That's why I didn't do it for sport. Back then a fishing license was about $3.00. In today's dollars that is about $60.00. If I didn't put some meat in the freezer, the wife would cut me off. Can you think of more incentive to be a successful fisherman?

Back in my day almost every fly fisherman kept flies in their hat and often on various parts of their fishing vest, supposedly to distinguish them from the non-fly fisherman. Of course, today we know that those were there because of bad casting ability and because barbless hooks hadn't yet been invented. Today I never see a fly fisherman with flies 'stuck' in their hat or vest. It marks the end of an era.

Back in the good ole days, we 'expected' a fisherman to tell lies and tall tales and none of them larger than those about hooking or catching a big fish. In today's fly fishing clubs (with catch and release) we rely on the 'integrity' of the fly fisherman to accurately report catches. Do I detect a conflict, particularly among the older members of our fly fishing society??

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