There is no doubt that some people are better than others when it comes to keeping secrets. Some people are born with a propensity to uncontrollably blurt out any juicy piece of confidential information that comes there way while others staunchly take even mundane details to the grave. I’ve run into my fair share of fly fishermen who better suit the latter of those two extremes. Always so secretive on where they fished, what new flies they’ve been tying, what’s working or not working, etc. I’ve even met fly fishermen who I believe get a kick out of spreading misinformation in order to protect their own angling experience in some way. I think we are all better off for the fact that these types of anglers are the exception rather than the norm.
I consider myself quite fortunate in the way I learned to fly fish. I grew up in the Midwest doing a lot of spin and bait fishing and certainly had some good fishy intuition when I moved to Colorado for school and picked up my first fly rod. I have a hell of a lot of respect for those people that pick up a book and teach themselves how to catch trout with a fly rod because I had a much different experience. My fly fishing mentor was a friend and guide who not only taught me the basics but also shared a lot of his secrets that had been passed on to him or that he figured out on his own. This valuable information made my time on the water more productive and helped speed up that learning curve.
When it comes to sharing my secrets I have to admit I’m generally pretty loose lipped. There are a handful of locations that I’ve stumbled upon or that have been shown to me by a trusting individual that I do not divulge to just anybody. As far as flies, equipment, and technique I’m pretty much an open book. A big part of my job is providing information that will allow people to catch more fish and have a better experience on the water. I’ve got more to gain by sharing than by withholding. In the end how good of an angler you are is almost always related to how much time you spend on the water. When it comes to catching fish it pretty much comes down to how good of an angler you are rather than which exact fly you used or your method of presentation. I say we all adopt an “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” mentality and just go fishing.