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Old 02-25-2007, 06:10 AM
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Chip Chipman Chip Chipman is offline
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Harvey's Fundamentals

HARVEY’S FUNDAMENTALS



Have you ever fished with someone many times and that person always caught more fish than you? As Harvey would say, “It ain’t luck.” To become outstanding at any sport, the fundamentals must be master. Harvey said that there were two types of fundamentals.

He called them the fundamentals of mechanics and knowledge.


Harvey P. was my fly fishing mentor when I was in my early teens. When asked if he had had any luck fishing would always answer, “It ain’t luck,” and give one of several stock reasons why.

He disliked being called a “born fisherman”, saying there was nothing innate about it. “ Did you ever hear anyone referred to as a born bricklayer?” he would ask. “A good bricklayer got that way because he learned his craft well. Fly fishing is no different.”

Harvey and I had ended fishing for the day and were sitting on the tailgate of his old Ford pickup drinking Royal Crown Colas. Moxie, Harvey’s dog was sleeping on the ground beneath us. Harvey as usually had caught the most fish by a wide margin.

“Tell me Great One, how can someone get to be as good a fly fisherman as you?” I had myself in mind.

Harvey took a swig of his RC, “Learn to cast correctly. It doesn’t do any good to practice casting if you ain’t doing it right in the first place. Practicing bad casting only makes you a better bad caster.”

“I think I get your meaning, Yogi.”

Ignoring my comment, Harvey took another swig. “Practice accuracy. Put the fly where you want it the first time—there might not be a second chance. Keep your casts short when fishing streams. Short casts are more accurate than long casts. I don’t care how good you are or think you are. Makes line control easier too.”

Harvey finished off his RC and opened another. “Line control sounds simple enough. You want the fly to drift naturally, so the line can’t have too much slack or be too tight.
The main reason people don’t maintain good line control is because they have too much line out.”



Harvey took several chugs of his RC, “Now, casting well and controlling the line well ain’t necessarily going to make you a good fisherman, any more than being a good rifle shot will make you a good hunter. Why, I bet you could train an ape to cast a fly line. To become a good hunter, you have known your quarry. Same thing fishing. Learn all about trout. What kind of habitat do they like? What do they feed on? How does water temperature affect them? You already know trout mainly feed on aquatic insects. Learn about insects, too.”



Harvey finished his second Royal Crown Cola. It was quiet for a moment and then I heard a sound like distant thunder. Harvey had produced a tremendous belch. Moxie jumped to her feet from a sound sleep.

“Wow!” said Harvey, “That’s it.”

“For the dissertation on fishing?” I asked.

“That too,” replied Harvey.
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