Interview of Aku Kaasalainen by Anni Yli-Lonttinen
I got intrigued by the versatile nature of the sport when I was watching other fly fishermen as a boy. There was so much new to learn with it. As a youngster you get bored if you are not moving forwards and learning new things.
With fly fishing the biggest difference to any other hobby of mine is that I’m not competing. Often a fish caught by a friend has felt even better than my own catch.
There is no point taking fly fishing too seriously, there is enough stress in other parts of life.
Meet the Fly Fishing Idols
– stories and lessons from the yesterday’s beginners
How did you learn fly fishing?
My first touch with fly fishing was through my father. First memories that I can recall are casting practice on the yard of our summer cottage. That would be about 19 years ago.
As a spin-fisherman I felt all the other fly anglers were somehow cooler and more talented fishermen.
I was intrigued by the versatile nature of fly fishing. Lure fishing just started to feel too simple for me. Fly casting looked so delicate. There was so much new to learn with fly fishing, and compared to all that spin fishing which started to feel a bit boring. I guess that has happened to many spin fishermen and ladies. As a youngster you get bored if you are not moving forwards and learning new things.
Did you have someone to teach you in the beginning?
My father Seppo was my mentor. We went fishing together quite a lot and I had two rods with me, a fly rod and a spin rod. My father thought me the basics of fishing, but as I got older and spend more and more time at fishing waters, my dad didn’t always have time to go with me.
Was there anything especially difficult about learning to fly fish?
The first steps with fly fishing were challenging but really rewarding. Casting especially was really difficult in the beginning, but resilience paid off and I started to learn.
Later the knowledge of the river and where the fish are located were challenging to comprehend. And the only way to learn that, is to go fishing a lot and ask from those with more experience.
I think nowadays the fly rods and fly lines have developed so much that learning to cast is easier.
What is your top fly fishing memory?
One that comes to mind from the early days, is a memory from Koitelinkoski Rapid at Kiiminki, Finland. We had been fishing for hours with no catch. It was getting late and my friend got tired and went to sleep. I decided to fish as long as I could.
After a lot of empty casts, at 9 am in the next morning I saw a big trout coming for my muddler fly. At the apex of the river the fish took the fly really smoothly and I knew right away it was a record trout for me. My hands were shaking and it was a total moment of panic for a young boy. I was afraid I would lose the fish. Finally I got the trout in my net and measured it to be 60 cm. I had to take it as a proof for my friend. At that time there were no cameras on our fishing trips. After this trip most of my trout fishing has been catch and release fishing.
Do you have a fly fishing related dream or goal?
My goal is to learn to understand fish and their habits and movements better.
Also in my mind I have goal sizes for specific species that I would like to reach one day.
A longtime dream has been to find a job somehow related to fly fishing.
What makes fly fishing so special?
For me fly fishing means calming down, relaxing, spending time in the nature and with good friends. When fishing, you forget the troubles and stress. Nature is the best place to recharge your mind and body.
The biggest difference to any other hobby of mine is that in fly fishing I’m not competing. Often I’ve noticed that a fish caught by a friend has felt even better than my own catch.
There is no point taking fly fishing too seriously, there is time to stress enough in other parts of life.
Fish are so peculiar animals. Other animals are interesting for me as well, but time to time fish and their behavior is so intriguing and difficult to understand from the fisherman’s perspective. There is so much new information about fish and the fly fishing equipment gets more and more developed. That makes fly fishing so interesting.
Aku’s TOP 5 TIPS for Learning fly fishing:
- Don’t get stuck with one style / technique
- Study the waters and learn where fish are located
- Talk with other fishermen you meet
- Handle the fish in right way (especially when catch and release fishing)
- Utilize books and internet as source of information
Member of Fellas Fly Fishing from Finland
Favorite fishing place: Changes all the time
Favorite fly: A dry fly. The take from the surface is always unique.
Instagram: @fellasflyfishing https://instagram.com/fellasflyfishing/
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