I am absolutely convinced that teaching others to fly fish is the single most effective thing you can do to help yourself become a better (and more “complete”) angler. Of course, there are altruistic benefits as well. Sharing a sport you feel passionate about with a friend, child, grandchild, or the neighbor kid is not only healthy for your peace of mind, it’s good for fly fishing. The more who appreciate fly fishing, the more advocates for rivers and lakes (read potential TU members) there are.
But aside from all that, I’ll suggest that the process of organizing and relating information on fly fishing to others helps you focus your own mind. For example, your casting stroke might be second nature for you now. However, when you’re forced to explain things like “the imaginary clock face,” accelerating and stopping the rod, and keeping your thumb in your peripheral vision as you cast (the simplest, most effective tip ever for helping newbies avoid going back too far on the backcast), your mind pays closer attention to details, and that ultimately translates to the way you fish.
“But I’m no guide, and I don’t consider myself an expert.”
Good! That means you really “get it.” The more you fish, you inevitably realize just how much there is to learn. Know your limitations, but don’t let that hinder you completely.
The late Green River guide genius Denny Breer once told me: “Time on water equals fish.” In other words, there is no substitute for being there with your boots in the water. No magazine articles, no books, no blogs will ever be as effective as being there. (Considering what I do for a living, that’s not easy to write, but it’s true.)
You being there to share the experience–even little lessons–with others is the single most beneficial thing you can do. And the benefits will be mutual.
- Kirk Deeter