"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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The Joy Of Fishing
Copyright © 2009 by Bill Scifres

One of the great joys of fishing – a la Bayou Bill style – simply features being ready to try several methods . . . with the same rod by simply changing the reel, line and terminal tackle.
Before I bare my fishing habits, I think I should first point out that my philosophy on angling simply stipulates that getting a hook in the jaw of a fish is top priority stuff . . . if you enjoy doing it. Otherwise, the angler simply is doing the job.
Prior to my teens – fly-rodding came into my life at 13 – I fished with a five-foot stainless steel rod with artificial (casting) lures most of the time. But in my years on the Muscatatuck River and tributaries I learned that the old saw “big bait, big fish” is far from the way to go. I often scaled the baits down by using wrap-on sinkers a yard ahead of the lure and found that would often take fish when casting lures wouldn’t.
Thus, when my dad put me in the fly-fishing business with a mail-order split bamboo outfit, I could hear my song in the background. I had trouble finding a casting rod with a ‘straight stick” handle that would accommodate a fly reel, but they were available in cheap rods. A fly reel would work on a rod with pistol-grip handle, but it was cumbersome.
I also armed my casting reel with 15 to 20 feet of heavy line (stagen), being unfamiliar with fly lines. They were not available in my town. We did use a heavy catgut leader with our casting braids, and these would carry over into my fly-fishing.
Still, the use of flies (fairly big, but small compared to bait casting lures) was not a pretty, artistic thing, although for 10 or 15 feet I could present a pretty delectable looking bucktail.
The coming of spinning tackle and seven-foot rods (I still have a couple) gave flexibility a boost in the late 40s and early 50s. That development gave fishing an option, until an Indianapolis rod maker saw my problems and produced a limber five-foot road with fly rod handle that worked well with a spinning reel.
I have since found several rods that would work as either spinning or fly poles, making angling easier to make the switch from one type of rod to the other. The handle and reel seat are the big issues. And I still make the switch when/if the mood strikes me. For live bait, I can go either way.
Some of these rods have two-way handles.
On distance, I figure 30 or 40-foot casts are good distance for accuracy with pinning gear. With fly-fishing I am thinking of hitting targets three or four times the combined length of rod and casting arm. With flies, I try to get closer to likely looking fish spots.
Boil it all down, and I think the preparedness in these kinds of fishing is just an extension of the theory that one should enjoy what he is doing.

RAIN A BOON – A week ago spring beauty was setting the woods on fire, but the bloom obviously had just started. A few yellow trout lilies were showing beautiful blooms, but others were just breaking through the earth.
It all added up to slightly early for morels in the Indianapolis area, but they should be up now. 

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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