I remember reading a long time ago (I wish I could remember exactly who said it) that a fisherman goes several stages throughout their days on the waters. It goes something like this –
- I just want to catch a fish, any fish
- I want to catch a lot of fish
- I want to catch BIG fish
- I like to catch difficult fish
- I just like to fish, catching isn’t all that important
Not sure why that came to mind, but it may have answered a question I’ve often mulled over regarding to whom a fixed-length line system has an appeal. It seems like many first time fly anglers become very enthusiastic, as do many long time fishers. It seems like folks in the middle can often take or leave it.
When I thought about the evolutionary path described above, maybe that makes sense. There is probably no better way to catch a first fish than to use a fixed-length line system. As a matter of fact, the same holds true for with regards to catching lots of fish.
Where things get dicey is for the folks who value large fish above all else. Fixed-length line systems are designed to fish accurately and precisely, in exchange for that, they give up power. The system just isn’t designed to stop a large, fresh fish dead in it’s tracks. If big fish are ones goal, they are better off to stick with a reel.
Where the fixed-length line system again comes into its own is when it comes time to catch difficult/selective fish. This is where the delicacy, accuracy and precision shine. And I do think it also appeals to the folks at the end of the spectrum. It not all about the fancy complicated equipment and library of 20,000 fly patterns. It’s just about spending so quality time out on the water.