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More Anglers should embrace ‘Do It Yourself’ By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal.

I got an outdoors catalog in the mail the other day. Right at the top of the front cover in bold letters were the words, “DO IT YOURSELF.”

That kind of took me aback for a little bit. You see, I don’t think many outdoorsmen make much of anything anymore. They much prefer to buy it.

When I looked a little closer, I saw the words “Rod Building 101.” Now I understood. It was from Mud Hole, a company which caters to amateur and professional fishing rod makers. I do a fair amount of business with them in my own rod making.

But here’s the thing. I know a heck of a lot of fishermen throughout the upper Midwest, and very few of them have ever made a fishing rod.

Even fewer have ever poured lead heads, and tied their own bass, walleye or panfish jigs. It seems nobody makes their own spinnerbaits anymore. A few walleye fishermen will build their own spinners to pull behind bottom bouncers, but hardly anybody makes their own bottom bouncers.

Flash back about 50 years. Every sporting goods store with a fishing department carried all the supplies you would need for building a rod, tying flies or jigs or making just about any kind of tackle. Today, its mostly mail order because there are not enough anglers making their own stuff.

I feel sorry for them. Why? Because catching a fish on tackle you have made yourself is something special. Because learning how make this stuff builds your fishing education. Because it makes you a better fisherman. Because it is a great way to spend those winter weekends. Because it is fun.

I suppose I started making my own stuff to save money. Early on, there wasn’t much of that around our house.

Notice, however, that I did not include saving money as one of the benefits of making your own stuff.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I have invested in just fly-tying materials. No, if you really get into this stuff, you won’t be saving any money.

I began tying flies about 1966. It’s a hobby that I continue today. I’ve tied more flies and classic jigs than I could ever fish with, even if I fished every day of the week. I’ve tied exhibition streamers and classic salmon flies just for fun. I’ll never be noted as a great fly tyer because I’m just not that good, and I have too many other interests. But, I love to do it. [Read more…]