The grouchy old man.

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
A month ago, I was fishing a small eastern river. I had a hook up in a run, so I did another lap though it with a different fly, then put on a light sink tip for third try, when a guy came downstream and fished the opposite bank and upstream of me with a single hand.

Later, I met up with this guy in the parking lot. “I don’t know why people fish this river with a sink tip. Don’t need it. These fish are hot, they’ll come up for a floating line.” Wow, a guy who is older and grouchier than me. I thought about saying to him ”I had a hook up, so I thought I would try something different to see if one would come back. It’s not September anymore. We’re had some real cold nights and the water temperature is down now. I know how to fish this run. This ain’t my first rodeo. I had a hook up. What did you get?” But instead I just said “Just trying something different on my third pass.”

Then he said, “the trouble with you Spey guys is you wade out into a run deeper than where the fish are holding, strip off 50 feet of line, then that’s your first cast, as if the fish are always on the other side of the river!” I thought about saying “You didn‘t see how I started out in that run, did you?” Instead, I said “I know what you mean.”

But I started to learn that since this guy thought he knew everything, so much more than me, it was easy to pump him for information by saying something stupid to elicit an irritated response. I could say something like “I always liked the looks of the run above that one along the cliff.” and he’d say “that run isn’t worth shit. The run above that one before you get to the power lines holds all the fish”, confirming what I had already learned over the years. We continued like that for 15 minutes. I got enough confirmations to give me confidence that he wasn’t bullshitting me, and three or four new ideas.
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Active Member
I love it. You've succeeded where most others fail (myself included too many times). You're placing your desire for knowledge and information above a 'need to be right'. It's a perfect example of one of my favorite phrases: "Is it better to be right, or to be happy?" They're not exclusive pursuits, and there's a time and place for pursuing one vs. the other. I hope you hook a few fish with the new intel.


Active Member
years ago, when my friends and I were just starting out fly fishing, we would occasionally run into what we termed "an old codger". Sometimes on the river, sometimes in the sporting goods area of a store or fly shop. We were always polite (you never know when you might learn something useful).
Fast forward 45 years, I was in a sporting goods store, in the tiny fly fishing area, when a younger man was asking one of the store clerks about what flies to buy for small mouth bass. Of course I had to step in, and after he made his purchase dragged him out to my car and gave him a bunch of flies that I "guaranteed" would catch him fish.
As I was driving home, it hit me, "OMG, I'm an Old Codger!"
It was a real turning point for me, made me realize just how long I've been doing this fly fishing stuff.
Moving out here has made me realize I still have a lot to learn.
So, rejoice in your Old Codger-dom, you've probably earned it.

Steve Saville

Active Member
WFF Supporter
There's always going to be someone in your hemisphere that "knows" more than you. It's pretty easy to tell who does and doesn't know what they are talking about after a few minutes. There are some folks who just want to bull shit you.


Active Member
I've never wanted to know what other people are doing...I'll never ask and if you start to tell me what you're doing I'll walk away. Solving the problem is why I fish...I know others just want numbers, others like to cast, others like to tie's all about your experience.

If you want to pump people for information that's fine...but it's not for me.

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