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July 31, 2011


Meal Worm Smack Down

by mrbrownliner

So this past week I was heading across the state on business and managed to sneak down to my favorite tail race for some summer trout action.  I got there and as luck would have it the mid-week crowds were sparse but a few elder statesmen were milling around.  I set up in my favorite run and began chucking my two fly rig hoping for some streamer action.  The fishing started out a bit slow but the old guy across the river was killing them!  One cast after the next.  We exchanged some idle chit chat and they asked me where I was from so I told them.

Once they realized I was a pretty good natured guy, the ribbing started… “Hey Mt. Lebanon… how’s the fishing over there?”  chuckle chuckle snort snort….  I laughed and smiled.  After landing my first decent bow I asked the age old question… so, “what are you throwing?”  Had I been paying much attention to what they were doing, I wouldn’t have had to ask because they weren’t really throwing much of anything.  The answer boomed across the river with pride…. “MEAL WORMS!”

Ahhhh… I nodded emphatically.  Was I really getting my balls busted by a group of retired dudes chucking meal worms with fly rods?  Yes indeed I was.  Now anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am no purist nor am I one to judge how another man chases fish.  (unless of course they are using explosives).  But come on man!  If you are going to pretend to fly fish while you throw live bait that has to come with a no heckling clause.

As luck would have it, fish started to rise and I switched up to a few dry flies and managed to scare up three or four more trout which my hecklers seemed to approve of.

I guess this beckons two very important questions:

1.  If you are using live bait on a fly rod are you actually fly fishing?

2. If so, is it bad form to heckle a fly fisherman who is actually fly fishing?

Now don’t get me wrong, they were really nice guys having a blast and I did too.  I just couldn’t help my internal eye roll and broad smirk as they chirped back and forth at one another.  Who know’s…. maybe they have it right and it really doesn’t matter how you do it… Maybe whoever dies with the most fish wins?  Or maybe style does count for something after all?

What do you think?

Good Luck and Tight Lines!


2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jul 31 2011

    I love these sort of debates.
    I think chucking bait with a fly rod is just that- chucking bait with a fly rod. It’s bait fishing with a classy fishing pole. Is it fly fishing? I think not.
    I think you have to be using an artificial fly (not a real one nor its maggot) that is cast with a fly line and rod. I don’t think using a bubble float to chuck a fly with spinning gear counts as fly fishing either. To me (and I think most real fly fishers would agree) fly fishing is a package deal- just because you use one piece of fly gear doesn’t mean your fly fishing.
    Is there anything wrong with the guys you encountered on the river? No, as long as they don’t claim to be fly fishing. I would also have to agree that if you’re pretending to fly fish you really shouldn’t be heckling anyone.


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