Abandoned & Acceptable. Why fly fishermen need a change of mind about what they leave behind.
Who throws away new flys, lures or equipment?
Would you let your fishing bud just reach into your vest, take your flys, tippet and other equipment and lose them a few times a day? Probably not. Would you allow any brush-cluttered streambank or tree branch within reach do the same? The answer is probably yes--but why?
Living next to a popular C&R stretch in Pennsylvania, I have the luxury to observe fly fishermen enjoying their pastime. As they pull up their cars and equip up. Ah, Spring has arrived with the birds chirping and the water that crisp, winter-cool blue-green. The next thing ya see? "ah crap" a poor cast with a tangled rig in a tree with the common practice of snap-off and leave it there. Unfortunately, this is done to many times by too many fly fishermen.
Sounds strange right? It only took a short amount of time for the stretch I picked clean of monofilament, flys and lures in early Winter to become littered with tree trash in a week from my fellow brethren. All within reach, about six to eight feet up in the branches.
This rig above was in a hot-spot casting area. A big rock in the water served as a ghost fish acting as a strike. Fish on! Nope. As the rig tied went slamming into the tree branch above.
Why just leave it there? I'm sure those fishermen all do their part by donating a few bucks to TU for another hat they'll never use or dumb window sticker to feel good about the annual campaign of something-another. Maybe picking up a soda can left on the ground too but abandoning that rig, that's normal? Well, that must no longer be accepted as a "normal practice." Reasonably, if you put it there then at least try to "Get It Back" Its your duty and privilege.
In the past, there was no "tool" to remedy this besides the old hook&string pull down thingy that got tangled up in your vest bottom pocket. Or maybe a homemade craftsman enabled his walking stick with a feature too. But now we have something called the CatchALure Fly Retriever and is so easy to use as it cuts the tippet to free the fly or lure. Incredibly small, efficient and effective; when connected it gives roughly 17' linear reach either upward or overtop fast moving water where you might have been zipping a fly into the underbrush. Calculation: Height of fishermen 6' + half his arm reach 3'+ length of rod 8' = 17'.
YouTube CatchALure to see a working video.
So, later that week I took another walk down to the crick' (what we call it Pa) and filled my fly box a little more in seconds with my CatchALure Fly Retriever. The fly below was a bit rusty however it was nice to take down this decoration ensemble.
Getting the mono out of the branches is challenging if the leader is snapped off and left there. Cutting the fly free and then pulling on the flyline side of your rig will most times pull the remaining mono right out of the tree and ready for a retie, thus, leaving no impact on the environment.
Below is a nice grab of a brand new tandem-rig. It was 6' above my head just begging to be retrieved. The black midge beadhead came in handy later that day too for a 14" bow. And I'll certainly return these to their rightful owner if he can show me a receipt :)
Fancy tie with this beaded head pheasant tail and black midge.
The next time your out on the river and you have a chance--Look up. You may see a prized woolly just waiting to find a home in your flybox. And by retrieving it, your reward could be, a bird not mistaking it for food, a few saved dollars and even a big brownie waiting around the next bend caught with that fly you found.And the fact that you left the stretch without any footprint of mankind.
Keeping our rivers a little cleaner than last year.
Dave O at CatchALure Fly & Lure Retriever.