What can we learn from other fishing method? Over couple months, I have been thinking/incubating this idea in my head. What make fly fishing so special and attractive? I am still search for an answer… I use to think fly fishing is a simple and straight forward way to fish, because of the fly is used. For a lazy man like me, I hate prepare bait… it involve too much work, to me. Flies stored in boxes, so simple and straight forward. They are always ready to go and never expired. I guess that is the reason I like to use fly. On the other hand, fly fishing could be somehow looks "complicated" in fly casting. I like different casting techniques, overhead, underhand, spey, roll… all fun and all can catch fish. Fish dry, nymph and streamer… all fun and very versatile! Those kind of simple and straight forward spirit was actually extended into a complex art form when it performed (casting and presentation). For example, casting different flies require different technique, from weightless dry fly to heavy streamer bullet, different aerial dynamic, different skills need to be employed. Different environments also required different cast, from roll cast in tight overhang forest creeks to double hauling in the windy western rivers. To me, this high skill demanding is also translate into “challenging” in different fishing situation, and just because of that it makes fly fishing so fun.(you can use one fly only like Dr. Ishigaki BTW) OK, so how about other fishing method? Tenkara is a recent thought about fly fishing. I think it is cool, pretty similar to western fly fishing, emphasized on line without reel which means no drag system and no long cast either. You don’t need both in small creek fish anyway… so I think it is a very practical way to fish in a small creek. How about long rod fishing in Japan? I used to think this is a really redundant way to fish for trout. The rod is so long, it must be very tiresome and clumsy to fish a creek… am I wrong? Yes… after viewing some video clips from SHIMANO website. I think it is really an interesting way to fish those long rods, especially convert it to fly use. Here is what I think: There is really nothing more simple than just one rod and line. (Noted: I have been converted to “a simple pursuer” lately. Most of my reels are click and pawl, even for striper fishing, I enjoy this type of primitive way “palming a reel”. It gives me a lot of feel!). I picture those long rod fishing is another simple form of fishing, and I can imagine how exciting to fight a fish on those long rod. Very primitive and should be a lot of feels too. Take advantage from modern graphite material, those rod are amazing long, it can go from 15ft to 30 ft and the weight is amazingly light from 2 ounces to 10 onces. Can you imagine a 30ft (9 meter) rod on a steelhead or a stiper? See CLIP here. I would trade my spey rod with this rod! (OK, I will actually buy both, I love spey cast too @@). It’s more like handicap myself with those type of long rods, no drag, like a samurai with a single sword dual match with a beast. This film actually reminded me a movie – Gladiator. What can we learn from long rod fishing and take it idea into fly fishing? I think beside “feels”, the principle of long rod fishing is really different than western fly fishing. Western fly fishing focus on the surface, more horizontally cover the water. Eastern long rod fishing are more vertical presentation, focus on the depth control. If I want to fish dry or light weight swing, I will use western rod and reel. But if I want to fish nymph, fish deep, I definitely will choose those long rod. See how well MR. Hosoyama control the depth presentation.
I am a biologist grew up with a fishing rod in my hands. I have been fortunate enough to embrace my love of art and science in my career. Most of my free time were well spent in the nature, either studying bird behavior or chasing variety of fish with fly rods. My favorite art medium is watercolors, I love the natural and spontaneous feel created by watercolor pigments. I am currently a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard University. Welcome to my website. Mark