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All fishermen have opinions about their particular corner of the sport, usually strongly held. That universal fact once led the late Corey Ford of Field & Stream fame to write, notably, “You can always tell a fishermen, but you can’t tell him much.”

So when someone tells me about the absolute best combination of tackle and tactics to catch one kind of fish or another, I always smile just a bit. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t.

Consider next these words from Theodore Gordon, widely considered the patron saint of American dry-fly fishing, who wrote back in 1914: “It is just as well to remember that angling is only a recreation, not a profession. We usually find that men of the greatest experience are the most liberal and least dogmatic…it is often the man of limited experience who is most confident.”

For me, at least, one of the greatest pleasures in fishing is learning. There’s always something new to learn about or figure out. Conditions on the water change quickly and often. What worked yesterday might well not work today. So I get a kick out of working the puzzle, using skills accumulated over time to figure out a technique, lure, fly, or bait that will catch fish in the present moment.

Which takes me to one last thought, this time as written by the late angling author Arthur MacDougal back in 1946: “To tell the truth, if I knew all erbout fishin’ for trout, I w’ud give it up an’ tackle sunthin’ more int’resting.”

Merry Christmas, folks, and thanks for reading. I’ll be back here next Monday, right after the holiday….

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