So…I don’t typically write or talk about things that would be considered political, or heavily weighed one opinion or the other, but I don’t know what to think about this PFA, the Pro Fly Angling Tour. In the last few years, the competition fly fishing circuit has grown pretty large, and I have always seemed to get a negative, who cares about it approach. While working at The Fish Hawk in Atlanta, GA while the movement was on the rise, I met a lot of the guys that were involved with it, and they seemed to be very enthusiastic and excited about, so I leaned towards why not.
As the tourneys started to be slated for rivers and streams all over the east and southeast, I never seemed to see them coming up in typical western streams, streams that were challenging, waters that if you actually caught a fish, you could deem yourself a damn good angler. No, they were being held in DH waters, stocked rivers and rivers that always had a pretty good reputation for being easily fished. Also, you fish based on beats, river sections that are divided up into areas where anglers are assigned. So, when you get assigned a beat, who knows what kind of water you are going to get…the frog water, the foot deep section with no level changes, the pocket water, the great runs…who knows, you have no say in the matter. Are you really the lesser fisherman if you get the crap water?, are you a better fisherman if you get the good water?
The main fishing technique used in these circuits is the Czech nymphing, or high stick nymphing…where technique is a must, it is still nymphing. Are you a great angler if you win after nymphing all day, all year?? It all bugs me so much, I don’t know why…I ask myself often, and it still bugs me, i cant shake it. I guess if you took these tours out west and put them in a challenging situation with a dry fly and technical water I would have a better appreciation of whats going on. Also, the best anglers in the world are guides, shop crews, the carpenter that builds houses in the winter, the bartenders that work after they get off the water, and the guy that travels the world on his own airplane going from New Zealand to The Seychelles…but you never hear about them in the tournaments. So, I guess you can have a Pro Fly Angling Tour, but there will not be pro’s in the event, there just won’t be. There is no such thing as a professional fly fisherman anyway.
This is just my microscopic opinion, it is as important as that little piece of dust in the wind, it is just something that I dont think fly fishing needs…in the end, it’s competition fishing, not really Fly Fishing.