Fly fishing is one of those outdoor pastimes that can simultaneously be the one of the most artistic pursuits you can try to achieve and one of the most tedious. In the past, the latter quality had prevented me from really diving into the sport. However, today was the day that changed my perspective. My buddy and I decided to book a guided trip on the White River with JFLY, an outfitter based in Fayetteville, Arkansas to put our skills to the test. Thinking about all of the different details that need to accumulate at the right time and place had me overwhelmed, but they also had me excited to see them in action.
When we arrived at the boat ramp, we proceeded to meet our guide by the water and he discussed with us the details regarding our trip. Subjects he talked to us about included water safety, distance and conditions of the float, how to cast properly, the flies we would be throwing, and how excited he was for us to be fishing with us today. Once we took out for our eight hour float, we started to learn the techniques necessary to target trout on this river. Nymphing, which is a form of fly fishing that uses subsurface artificial flies, mimics bugs in their larval stage being caught by the current. Making sure that your flies are drifting uninterrupted by outside forces (the weight of your line, moving the rod, or obstacles) is key to optimizing this strategy. After a couple of trial runs, which consisted of me trying to understand what a mend was, I felt like I was starting to get the hang of the casting, mending, and retrieving nymphing asks you to do. After a short while, I had landed my first trout. Seeing that bobber shoot straight down to the bottom of the river was extremely exciting for me, because I had been waiting so long for the bobber to do something other than bob.
When we decided to pull over for lunch, I finally got to talk with my guide a little more in depth about why this was the profession he chose to pursue. “Being outside is something I’ve always prioritized over anything else”, he said. “Life is simpler out here and rules are few and far between. However, the ones that do exist matter more than any other rule you could find in society. They guide and protect your life at all times.” We also talked about conservation and things that needed to happen in the community to protect this great resource. Some of the things we talked about included education, natural resources, and river etiquette. The combination of these three factors is important because it creates a caring community around the industry that is adventure travel.
All in all, the trip was a huge success. We caught fish, had a blast, and learned something new, which is hard to come by these days. Plus, there’s nothing more beautiful than a colored up, aggressive brown trout that is just a tad slow in identifying your fly. This will definitely be an activity to pursue for me, and my friends. If you're interested in learning more about fly fishing, I highly recommend checking out JFLY, an outfitter based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They offer guided trips on the White River and have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. Visit their website at www.jflyfish.com to learn more and book your trip today!