I began fishing at the age of 12 and fly fishing about 10 years later. I had no idea at the time that this type of fishing would, in the coming years, greatly influence my life. A trip through Ireland in 1978 probably gave the definitive push. I was impressed how many of the locals were fly fishers and how natural it was for them to fish from a boat on large and small lakes, tempting the beautiful golden-yellow, red-spotted trout to the surface with long rods and traditional wet fly patterns.
In my beginning years at home in Germany, I had no ready access to good trout waters. But I managed, since a stream full of chub ("aitel" here in Bavaria) was close by. These fish gave me the opportunity to fly fish and slowly, but steadily, to improve and learn. How exciting it was when one of the "hard heads" let the fly dance on his nose, like a sea lion with a ball at the circus -- often only to leave the fly with a scornful slap of the tail. Aitel are ideal for all beginning fly fishers because the small ones take a fly in an almost suicidal manner. Whoever manages to hook one of the older, larger aitel is well-prepared to fool a suspicious brown trout. Despite such great opportunities, many think of fly fishing as being only for trout. I often hear, "I would sure like to try fly fishing, but there are no trout waters near us." Sometimes I think that may only be an excuse. Those with true interest should not let themselves be discouraged. In creeks, rivers, and lakes today, artificial flies are used to fish for dace, whiting, carp, pike, wall-eyed pike, and bass as well as the great variety of saltwater fish along the seacoast.
When fishing, nothing is more satisfying to me than fooling a finned friend with a fly, regardless of what species is involved. Despite that, believe me, you will have opportunities to fish good trout waters. If you develop enough interest, it will bring you eventually to waters that you might never dream of today. I am always pleased when I meet people, with an honest interest in fly fishing, to whom I can pass on a small part of my enthusiasm.
Many beginners have the impression that using a fly rod is very difficult. That is not the case, but, just as with a tennis racket or golf club, practice helps the technique. I would very much like to help you begin at the EWF. If you wish to continue, you might consider, in the coming season, taking a professionally taught casting course for two or three days in order to gain a good foundation with a good instructor. At the EWF, you will have opportunity, without obligation, to establish contact with some of the best fly-fishing schools.
Appropriate first equipment can make fly fishing fun from the very beginning. You should ask yourself what species of fish you will be first pursuing. That will help establish the line weight for your first fly rod. There is unfortunately not a truly all-around rod suitable for presenting small dry flies and nymphs to trout and grayling and also good for casting 15 cm long streamers for multi-kilogram-class pike. It is also easy to lose your perspective if the relevant conditions are not kept in mind for other equipment you need.
It would be my great pleasure to meet you on 22 and 23 April at the beginners' stand where we can talk about your wishes, discuss the individually appropriate equipment for a beginner, and try your first casts outside on the field.
There is an old saying, "Every trip begins with a first step." That is also true of fly fishing.
I would very much like to see you at the 2023 EWF if the opportunity arises.
Your Hans Eiber