Updated: Sep 17, 2022
It has occurred to me, and many other beginners that I have taken out that fly fishing isn't necessarily the most efficient way to catch a fish. Lures and bait that appeal to fishes' other senses such as smell usually produces more consistent results. They have even created scientifically made Powerbait, which is stinky play dough that trout apparently just have to eat.
I understand the allure of catching fish. Obviously I wouldn't have stuck with fishing if I didn't like the pull of the line and the fight of the fish. I am not too snobby to think that fly fishing is the pinnacle of the sport and everyone else is just drowning worms. Whatever gets you outside and in front of water I am wholly in support of. Young or old, experienced or not, water and green space makes everyone feel better. Some of my favorite days I hardly fish at all. Just taking in the surroundings and watching the water flow seems to melt away a lot of stress and worry.
I find that fly fishing is the best way for me to take a step back from everything. From casting to tracking the fly, it takes all of my attention. Attention that would otherwise be split on kids, bills, bad things in the news, etc. As soon as I think about that stuff while fishing then I'm instantly tangled, or I missed the take of some unknown beautiful fish. Its only using my senses of sight and sound, the feel of the rod loading, the smells of the surrounding forest that puts me in that moment to be successful. The flora and fauna in the Shenandoah Valley are amazing.
In addition, I find it fascinating and thrilling in the idea that I can be completely artificial to the underwater world of a trout and still interact with them. I am taking some fur, thread, feathers, hair, whatever that doesn't belong underwater and making something real. Fish aren't particularly smart, but they are good at eating all day so if they eat something completely man made then I think that is quite a feat.
Why fly fishing? I guess its the same as why bow hunt? Why cook over an open flame when you have a perfectly suitable kitchen? Some people like the challenge. Some people like the total immersive experience that isn't beside a road. I like the separation of myself from the hustle and bustle of the world, an opportunity to remove yourself from the main focus and put it on something totally extraneous. Fly fishing might not be the most productive way of catching fish, but for me it is the most productive way of having the lasting effect on my well being.