The Search for Angling Matrimony

The fly-fishing community is full of characters – old & young, salty & green, die-hards & fair weather enthusiasts. And then, to differentiate further, we have our various disciplines of fly angling. There are the trout weenies, the steelhead masochists, the warmwater anglers that refuse to pick up the baitcaster, and the flats fanatics. Sure, it is unfair to generalize our fine community but we are an easy group to target. These generalizations and characterizations of fly anglers are particularly useful when you are in the market for a new fishing buddy. Just like romantic relationships, there are angling amigos that are eternal soulmates and there are toxic relationships that should have never been united, to begin with.

To dissect the need for angling matrimony, we must examine what bad relationships could look like.

Your fair-weather friend who only goes fishing in the summer – when there is not a cloud in the sky or a hint of wind – should probably not jump in a boat with your buddy who is adamantly convinced that low-pressure systems have the best bite.

Your little brother, who just caught his first sunfish on fly last Tuesday, probably does not need to go with you to fly fish for downtown Islamorada tarpon with Rob Fordyce – or any Keys tarpon guide for that matter. Sorry buddy, next year!

Your competitive girlfriend and your buddy’s new fling (who also happens to be competitive), may get along cohesively on your weekend long camping & fishing trip. But they may not, and it might get scrappy.

The older gentleman that hangs around the fly shop telling captivating stories from back in the day may get on your nerves when you’re halfway through a float and he’s still talking about the salmon fly bite from ‘86.

To be a mature angler in the market for an angling partner, one must take inventory of oneself.

Is your boat bag organized? Well, you might get irritated if your new fishing buddy cannot find his tippet spool and needs to borrow your nippers for every new fly.

Are you a competent rower/pusherman? More importantly, is your new fishing friend? You are not allowed to get frustrated being on the platform all day if you never asked if they knew how to pole.

Are you punctual? If your version of “let’s meet at the ramp at 8:00 AM,” is usually 8:15, you must come to terms with your persistent tardiness. Just say 8:15 and mentally shoot for 8.

Just like in romantic relationships, anglers must eventually accept their partner’s flaws. Boat fishing is a symbiotic environment, where you need your partner. Have you tried poling yourself down a bank or rowing solo down the river? It is not very effective…

As anglers, we have all experienced a mismatched day of expectations and vibes. It can throw the juju for the whole day off. It also can make for a painfully long fishing trip. There are so many factors one cannot control while fishing – weather, bite, broken oarlocks, faulty motors. That shit happens more often than it should. So control the factors within your power. Your fishing partner being first and foremost.

Article and photos by Jackson Bland, follow along with him at @troutcowboy or

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