Old Anglers never Die

Old Anlgers Never Die…a blog by Terry Armstrong

Headhunters and Missouri River friend Terry Armstrong today with this blog he sent to us via electronic mail. We’ve known Terry for a number of years and some of you have met him at our Saturday BBQ’s, out swinging a 2 hander, or his latest love, a Sweetgrass Bamboo Rod. He loves his wife Gigi, but sometimes he leaves her for his mistress the Mo River Trout.

Thanks for the Blog Terry!

Old anglers never die, they just keep learning!

Want to increase the fun factor on your next angling adventure? Learn something new!

I was in a book store several years ago looking at books on fly fishing when I noticed a young man doing the same thing. I struck up a conversation with him and mentioned that I’d been fly fishing for many years and rambled on about the good old days probably boring him with a lot of old fart BS. The book I was holding was “Fly Fishing For Dummies”. He looked at the book and looked back up at me and asked why I was looking at beginner level books if I was such an experienced angler.

The reason is because I wanted to see what I had forgotten or missed. I am guilty at times of getting a little to big for my fly rod and thinking I have things all figured out especially on those days when everything is going as expected. But what happens when the fish are rising all around you, and everyone but you are catching fish.

This is a humbling experience and has left me wadding back to shore with my tail between my legs on many occasions.

If you want to reduce the frequency of this happening you need to learn to be a better angler. If you want to prevent this from happening ever again…take up golf. If you prefer the better angler option there is no end to the resources at your disposal. You can read books, surf the internet, watch videos, or hang out at your local fly shop and ask lots of questions.

One of the best ways I’ve found to learn is to fish with someone else and watch, listen, and learn from them. Every time I fish with someone else I learn something especially if they are a better angler than myself. If you want to significantly accelerate your learning hire a guide.

A couple of years ago I hired Squeeky to take me and my wife fishing. My primary motivation for this was to have him teach my wife and make sure she had a fun day while allowing me to fish and share my passion with my wife.

This came after years of rowing while instructing my wife which lead to me being frustrated, which lead to her getting nervous, which lead to me raising my voice (she called it yelling), which led to her crying, followed by a long period of silence.

The guide trip was incredibly successful!  I highly recommend this for anyone wanting to get a friend or family member into angling. But wait!  There was an added benefit I hadn’t anticipated. No, I’m not referring to the fact that I didn’t have to row and was able to spend more time drinking bourbon and smoking cigars. 

What I didn’t anticipate, was how much I would learn on a river I was already intimately familiar with. In the past two years I have fished twice with Squeeky and once with another great guide, Tony Valeriano of Western Drifters,  the Dean of the Yellowstone. Each time my wife learned and had a great time but my own skill and knowledge level also increased substantially.

Hiring a guide is the best way to make substantial improvements in your angling skill and knowledge in the shortest amount of time, and if you really want to nail it hire a guide for a multi-day trip even if it is only 50 miles from home. The learning is accelerated by the time spent practicing what you learn with the guide there to observe and coach you.

No,  I don’t get a dozen free flies or a bottle of bourbon for writing this. It is an honest observation from my own experience meant to help anyone else who sincerely wants to be a better angler and have more fun on the river.

Trust me I’m an angler, and may your next cast not be your last!

Ed Note: I agree with Terry in that if I would have to learn the river from the beginning, or learn a new skill, or enjoy a cigar and bourbon while fishing with a friend, your wife, or your child. I’d hire a guide too. An opportunity to learn is priceless. And terry, while we may not hook you up with pounds of free flies, handles of bourbon, we could probably be persuaded to share a couple beers with you…

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