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Style Points

Posted by Mark Thursday, January 26, 2017 1 comments

K2 leans into the skater with his own swing style


You get style points for trying.........

We've all heard it before.

Have you really embraced your style?

What is your fishing style?

Have you thought about it?

Do you care?


                   Wee skater style

I have been thinking a lot about fishing style, casting style, wading style, tying style, and guiding style.

We all have a unique style to everything we do, fishing is no exception. Everyone does things a little different and that uniqueness is what brings us all together. How boring would the river and many aspects of our lives be if we were all the same?

There is still so much to learn about steelhead and sometimes it takes someone with a little different style or approach to swinging a fly to help you to see things in a new light.

I have the opportunity to watch and fish with many skilled and sometimes not so skilled anglers every year. You know what? I learn from them all!

Everyone has something to offer and I try to be a sponge, always eager to see things from another angle. Sometime the innocence of a new angler helps me to realize that I can over think things too much at times. I may just need to get back to basics and keep it simple.



                         Junk Yard Spey style



Sometimes an expert caster or fisherman helps me to confirm certain aspects of my own game. As I guide or as we fish together,  I watch, taking in every nuance of the cast and swing always gathering info on how I can be the most effective with the time I have on the water. Is there something in this persons technique that I may use? Am I already using it? Do I have anything constructive to share to make that angler better?



You don't have to change your program to fit or copy theirs necessarily, but be open to maybe incorporating certain aspects of that style to better fill your own quiver of fishing knowledge.



Dawn patrol style




I personally have been influenced greatly by others unique style. That influence can often be in an inspirational way as you grow to appreciate the way someone learned and developed in the sport.


                                        Girl Style



I watched a guy I guided sit down in the water on a rock and cast to avoid overhanging limbs in a place that I had always stood. For him that was a way to miss the casting obstacles overhead and cover the pool. He had less power but power was not necessary in this short tail out. He was a great caster and fished the run just fine and in doing so showed me once again that there are many ways to do things.




I saw a guy jump up on an algae covered log to fish a run after I warned him against it. He somehow managed to keep himself upright, fishing from a super precarious position and didn't break his neck. Not where I would have stood but he was fine with it. He even rose a fish from out there on that log.......


Loud reel style


I have watched as skilled anglers fished long belly floating lines and classic flies in the dead of winter, because that's the way they wanted to fish. They were about catching fish on their terms and if it didn't happen they were not fazed. I watched one of those guys fish a long single hand line and heavy classic iron looking for "that one kamikaze fish"........ way cool! You know what, one of those guys showed me a Black Dog on a floating line will work in winter.....if you put one on and fish it!

I have many friends that can tie flies like pros. They all have their own style and each is unique.  A few guys have taken that unique style to another level tying flies in hand. While I may never be able to tie like some of these guys, their style still influences and encourages me.


Classic fly style (Matt Z. spun this one up)





Cowboy/riffle hitched bomber style

I fish with painters, woodworkers,photographers, builders, business men,lawyers, doctors and nurses,ski bums,college grads,drop outs,moms,dads, teenagers, kids, friends brothers, and regular Joe's as well as many more people that I come across every year. Each brings a style to swinging a fly that is unique. This is good for our sport. Variety is the spice of life!

It's not a competition out there people,despite what many would have you believe. We need to learn from one another, embracing the various styles and individualism that define us all. We are ultimately united around our common goal, swinging flies for steelhead in beautiful places and the fleeting chance to touch something truly wild. 

The rivers are getting more crowded every year and now, more than ever, need to help to make a positive impact on each and every person we come in contact with on the river. Interact with people, slow down, watch someone fish now and again rather than rushing around trying to get a spot. You may learn something!

Going forward with that attitude we create a culture where we ultimately are all better stewards of the resource. With the help of those we meet, we all become better anglers, better listeners, better teachers, and better friends.

Embrace your style and rock it proud this year!

Never stop learning, be safe and have a great 2017!




Classic Style
Painting by Judy Waller (see more of her amazing realistic paintings here)

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

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