One of the brothers in the fellowship getting his swing on old school
I am constantly amazed at the tight knit group of people that I meet that have one thing in common....we all love to swing flies for steelhead. This brotherhood of friends, some of whom I have never even met in person yet, is really unlike anything I have been a part of. And,it is not a group that you join, you are almost born into it. It starts the day you are old enough to fish and continues through all the progressions of childhood fishing. Pan fish,bass, small stream trout, lakes, etc. All of the experiences from your youth shape you as you grow.You are heading for a final destination but you haven't got the map yet. It will be revealed to you in due time.Your first fly rod starts you on a collision course with the swing. You are not fully aware of what this fly rod in your hands will do for you. The places it will take you and the stories you will tell because of this thin piece of fiberglass, bamboo or graphite will fill volumes before you die. As you develop as a caster and fisherman you challenge yourself to cast more efficiently with less effort.As technique grows keener you seek more of a challenge.Experiences are built upon and friendships are being made all along the road. Many of your friends are developing at much the same rate as you are. You have mentors who guide and mold you along the way, each step getting you ready for the future, and the culmination of events that will ultimately become a lifelong passion..
A little brother and a mom are fully in tune with the fellowship
And then one day, you discover steelhead and are forever changed in an instant. Sure, you still fish for other fish, but the unmistakeable pull of this fish has captured you and you can't escape....and you don't want to. The friendships that are forged in the pursuit of these fish become some of the strongest bonds I know. Road trips,endless talk around the fly shop counter,and telephone conversations that stretch on for hours.Sitting around the fishing shack,camp or house and going over the day you have just experienced or babbling excitedly about the next day to come, are some of the best times I can remember. The ability to converse about a common theme breaks down doors of communication that may never have come down in normal "life"talk. The swing is the only thing that matters and learning more about it, doing it and discussing it are all encompassing.
Gandalf, a great brother and teacher
This fellowship, this brotherhood is every where. It extends to our Atlantic Salmon brothers who fish for another fish but share the technique and passion for the sport. We can talk to any of these brothers in exactly the same language.A common thread exist through all of it. A true love of the outdoors and a passion for the target species, whatever that may be.The characteristics of this fellowship which draw us in and are on display on a regular basis are,excitement, patience, endurance,camaraderie, unselfish sharing and giving to others, an exchange of both teaching and learning. There are no best ways to do things, just different ways. All have a place and all are accepted and taken with the same authority. As my Dad always said "There is more than one way to remove the outer epidermal layer from a feline". This rings true as it applies to the swing as there are as many ways to swing a fly as there are players in this game. That is the fun part of this fellowship. There is ALWAYS something to be learned from someone else. The day I quit learning and growing on the river is the day I will quit fishing. It hasn't happened yet in almost 30 years swinging for steel and I still have plenty of things to learn.
It truly is a lifelong pursuit as we all learn more about the fish we chase,the spots that hold them, the currents that keep them there, and the wonderful times we share with others in The Fellowship Of The Swing.
I have a limited run of Fellowship Of The Swing bumper stickers in the works.