Am I A Purist?

God I love fishing dry flies. The big, fat, bushy Stimmies!! Nothing beats watching a trout absolutely crush a giant floating fly! No matter how many times you have watched it happen, it makes your heart pound. Hell, half the time it still scares the shit out of me! I love the big dry flies because I can see ‘em. Parachutes would be next, for the same reason. But any dry fly is better than nymph fishing. Like most fisherman, I’m not opposed to fishing underneath, but man…dry flyin’ is the best.

Does this make me a dry fly purist? I don’t think so. In my mind, the purist is the guy who WON’T fish anything but dry flies. Even when there hasn’t been a fly in the air all day. I’m not that guy. I’ll pretty much always start with a dry, but if I don’t get any interest or action fairly quickly, I’ll usually tie on a dropper. Yes, I keep the dry firmly attached. There’s always a chance, especially when you think of the size of a fishes brain. As a man who has dedicated the majority of his working life trying to teach middle schoolers – some of whom would rival the fish in brain size, I swear – I am all about logic and reason. It seems reasonable to me that a fish with the brain the size of a pea or BB would absolutely take a swipe at a good meal no matter what the conditions were like. It just makes sense. However, I’m not an idiot; tying on the dropper ups my chances of feeding a hungry fish, so I do it.

In the worst case scenario, I will move to going to a full blown nymph rig. In fact, the latest addition to my “gear” are a couple of those “rig spools” that allow you to keep dual fly rigs in tact so you can change out your flies a lot easier. It seems like a great idea, and it definitely makes changing fly combos a lot more simple. And that’s half the reason I usually stay with a dry fly or double dry rig too long. When you have bad eyesight, it’s just easier to keep fishing what I can see, even if it doesn’t catch as many fish.

And perhaps that’s at the heart of it all. As I age, I’m not “all about” how many fish I catch. Numbers don’t consume my days on the river like they used to. Of course I want to catch fish. And of course I want to catch fish on a dry fly. But maybe, I’m a purist in what the whole experience provides. From start to finish, I never feel better than I do when I feed my soul with a day on the river.

Those days are pure in every sense.

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