What To Do When Fishing’s Closed

As a fly fisher who spent over 200 days fishing last year, it’s easy to forget that a hook in the water is only a small part of the hobby. Since fishing is closed until April 8th, it’s time to consider the other aspects of the sport.

Idea #1: Practice Makes Perfect
As a teacher, and a father of two small children, school closures have created a lot of challenges. But, they’ve also created a golden opportunity–empty high school football fields. Classes are shut down, but campuses are not.

In an effort to increase safety, high schools in Washington State have been installing synthetic football fields. The three major challenges I face when practicing are finding obstruction-free space, judging casting distance, and dirtying/destroying my fly line. Stand in the middle of a football field, and unless your last name is Rajeff you should have plenty of completely open space for back and forward casts. Once you’ve made that snag-free cast you’ll find that the painted marks every 3′ help you easily judge distance. Finally, at the end of the practice session, you’ll be happy to notice that unlike grassy parks casting onto artificial turf leaves your fly line clean and dirt-free.

Idea #2: Time to Tie
With Governor Inslee’s order to stay home, and our beloved fly shops being closed but still needing income, now is a great time to tie flys even if you’ve never done it before. While The Avid Angler and Pacific Fly Fishers, Spawn Fly Fish, and I’m sure others, may not be able to let you in the door they are more than happy to hand materials out to you or to ship/deliver them directly to you.

With a wife and son who tie, and my focus usually locked onto the fishing part of fly fishing, until the past few days I’ve never bothered to learn how. I was missing out! I sat down at my son’s vice the other evening to try it, and hours later was still happily at it. They’re ugly, and I’m still learning, but for your entertainment here are my 1st and 12th attempts:

Attempt #1.
Attempt #12.

Idea #3: Organize
Ok, so I haven’t exactly gotten around to this one, but after looking at the disaster I’ve left on the tying desk, and since my usual method of organizing the fishing gear in the back of my car is ”shut the hatch, quick!”, a third idea is to consider organizing.

If you’ve never driven for hours only to discover you brought an empty fly rod tube, reached for your net only to remember it is still in the garage, or tried to inflate a pontoon without the pump, you’re doing better than me. But, before schadenfreude sets in, you might open your fly boxes and read this article.

Whatever you end up doing, stay safe and we’ll see you on the water and at meetings soon enough.
— J