Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Fly Fishing Safety Tip

Any fisherman who has fished in popular areas or urban parks has had to deal with strange people standing directly behind them for no apparent reason, and with no intention of moving. The relatively short back cast of a modern bait caster or spinning rig can normally be altered enough to avoid hooking these people. A fly rod set up can have a long enough back cast to take this particular situation to the extreme making safety a much bigger concern. A less than vigilant fly fisherman may unintentionally give a teenage girl sitting at a picnic table 30 feet away a new caddis fly eye brow piercing.  Keeping track of the movements of nearby people can be a challenge when most of your attention is focused on not permanently disrupting your own field of vision with a fly. I try to make sure that there is nothing behind me when I am out there fly fishing, but I still catch trees and bushes all the time, and I am just waiting for the day I hook into an unseen toddlers nose with a woolly bugger on a back cast.

The last few times I have gone fishing were trips of opportunity. A rare bit of spare time to go down to my little urban lake and wet a line. Those last second "hey I have a few minutes, I think I will to go to the lake" types of outings are normally unproductive. These times usually occur in the mid-afternoon when the fish aren't very likely to be biting, and most other fishermen are at home watching sports or movies. These are also the times that the lake has the fewest "non fishing" people using it. As a beginning fly fisherman these times of the day are priceless opportunities to practice casting and presentation techniques on actual water without the ever present worry of catching an unseen jogger or bicyclist on the back cast. The opportunity to focus directly on casting techniques and how the water affects the feel of the fly line on the pick up has allowed me to become proficient at casting out to about 40 feet in a relatively short time span, with really cheap equipment.  This has also made me a veritable expert at catching just about everything that happens to be on land within that distance of the shore line. Constantly catching the stuff behind me, has lead me to the realization of one reason fly fisherman wade out into the water and typically fish parallel to the shore line.

My little urban pond does not allow people to swim or wade in it, so I am grounded to the shoreline and trying to avoid trees and bushes until I can get up to the White Mountains and some small stream fishing this summer. So I will continue to practice my fly fishing and maybe get a few bass out of my pond, but I have to do it in such a manner as to not catch any people while I am at it. Safety is always first in all things, and fly fishing is no different. If you think the image of a toddler with a hook in his nose is disturbing, think about the mother who is screaming her head off and hitting you while you are taking the hook out of the poor little kid. As for the teenage girl...the eyebrow fly just might be the next big fashion statement.


  1. Rick
    We have a small pond in the middle of our park, and I have never seen anyone fish it. So yes this is untapped waters. -----may have to get it a try myself. thanks for sharing

  2. You need a decoy set-up. Arrange free inflatable Jump/Bounce Houses around your fishing position to create a clear lane for your back cast.

    1. Excellent idea Reverend. Do you have any ideas to deal with the trees?

    2. Okay, so tonight while I was at Walgreen's, I figured out how you can deal with strange people when you fish the parks.

      Again, you need a decoy set-up. For strange people, place Redbox/DVD kiosks near your fishing position. The strange people will be naturally attracted to the DVD rental kiosks and will congregate and loiter around these machines instead of near your fishing spot.

    3. Boy, talk about a new way to catch a movie! But you do have a point.