The Imperfect Drift

I thought I’d start a blog post called “The Imperfect Drift.”  I’m calling it that for a reason.  It’s essentially a look into my life as I try to learn and understand the world of guiding, fly-fishing, fishing politics, fly-tying, fly-fishing gear, and any other randomness, awkwardness or foolishness that comes my way as a result of learning to fly-fish.

First some background.  I grew up in Holland, Michigan and spent the first 25 years of my life in banking.  I have always enjoyed the outdoors.  A few years ago I realized, after going through a divorce, that I didn’t want the next half of my life to look like the first half.  Nor, did I want a regular life.  So I bought into the lodge and have taken up fly-fishing.  I am only slowly getting to understand this industry through the help of the people at Orvis, our guides, staff, and my partner in the lodge Frank Willetts.  There is so much learn.

The first rod and reel I purchased was an Orvis 8wt Encounter combo.  I didn’t know anything about it, didn’t how to cast, what flies to use, tippet, leader, presentation, etc., etc. etc.   To be frank, I still struggle with this as can be seen from the video.  Do I use 0x or 5x tippet, how long does my leader need to be, what’s a Rapala knot and how is that tied, what the heck is the Sex Dungeon, am I handling the fish right, what’s better a flex tip or a mid-tip?  Are you kidding me?  Ugh!  Give me spin caster, a worm and bobber and call it good.  But that’s not what I wanted.  I wanted to have an intimate knowledge of the fish I targeted, the river, the gear, the bugs, the seams and lines, the holes and pockets and the list goes on.  I wanted to be a participant, not a spectator on what was going on in and on the river.  For me, fly fishing gives me that.

Slowly though I began to learn, ask questions, hire guides, talk to guides, talk to the shop staff, read articles and watch videos.  What I became, was curious, curious about all things fly-fishing.  This curiosity has helped me build new friendships in this industry as well as in the Baldwin community.

Fly-fishing is not a sport to me, it’s a religion.  I am incredibility thankful to all our guides and staff as they teach me in this religion.  And as they teach me, they can also teach the newbie.  What I am trying to get at here is fly-fishing is not as complicated as it may seem.  One just has to start, ask questions, and realize there will be lots of imperfect drifts along the way.

By Tom Werkman

Tom is a co-owner in the Pere Marquette River Lodge