I was reflecting recently on the label I sometimes am given… that of “expert.” I’m not. I try to be pretty clear about that. I am just profoundly interested in the subject, which does not make me an expert anymore than being a die-hard fan of American Idol would make someone a singer. I thought I’d list the reasons why I’m not an expert, just so everyone is on the same page.
1. Any bonefishing guide knows 100x more than what I know. When you are on the water a lot, and I mean daily/weekly, you have an understanding of a species, a place, a mindset that cannot be replicated by those who are not there. I saw this even on my own rivers in Nor Cal. I only guided a single season on the trout streams of Northern California, but for that season I had the pulse of my rivers. I knew what was happening and what was about to happen. I had fish that I knew I could count on.
I don’t have the pulse of any flat. I don’t have a handle on the tides anywhere. I don’t know where the fish are going to be. Simple as that.
2. I’m not a FFF certified casting instructor. I have not won a shootout of any kind or even entered a distance casting competition. I have personally fished with several people who could out cast me pretty much any day of the week and twice on Sunday. My casting has improved a lot since I started chasing bonefish. A lot. I still have some rough edges.
3. I’m not an outfitter. I have heard about a lot of places and almost every single one of those places is a place I have not been myself. People ask me about flats in Abaco or Exuma or Honolulu or Placencia or wherever and every single one of those places I could find on a map and tell you there are fish there and the conversation would pretty much stop there. I have no experiences to share from those places because I have not fished them. I know of them. I do not know them.
There are a lot of experts out there. I know some of them and I look to learn from others. Every trip has something to teach, most anglers have something to share. That’s why I like this whole blog thing.
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Tags: blogging, bonefish, bonefishing, fly fishing
Wonderful post, Bjorn. None of us are really experts. “Experts” sell books and DVDs and fill booths at trade shows, but the more time you spend on the water, the more you realize that if you have the chance to learn just one piece of water fully in your lifetime, you are very, very lucky. It’s nice to read someone declare their innocence without a thick layer of false modesty slathered on.
Can we at least refer to you as an expert fly tyer? You make some nice stuff.
Right on, Bjorn. Great post.
You are, however, a significant “influencer” in the world of bonefishing. Keep it up.
Thanks all. I’m rather committed to being profoundly interested in bonefish, the flats and the people and places that surround them. That’s what I’m prepared to do.
Bjorn, I follow your posts on FB and sometimes head hear also. What you have written above is excellent, great stuff!!
These fish have the brain the size of a bread cumb and still outsmart us most of the time.