I grew up fly fishing on the upper Rogue River. For ten years my split bamboo fly rod leaned against the wall of our back porch, companion to my Dad’s fly rod. Each was ready to go with one of Dad’s hand tied flies on the end of a six foot leader, the hook stuck in the cork handle of the pole.
The four hundred yards of riffles in below the house carried the crystal clear, ice cold Rogue River current from our right to our left…but only if you fished “our” side of the river. Over the years, the pull of the current against the fly line put a permanent left-hand crook in the tip of my fly rod. It didn’t seem to keep my from catching my share of rainbow trout. (And I didn’t give up that old pole until after we moved away from the river.)
We were purist of a sort. We might, however, on rare occasions switch from one of Dad’s masterpieces to a common garden hackle. Recognizing it as a fly fishing special takes a little imagination, but it’s hard to be a purist when the fish are stubborn. Adding a little worm, aka “garden hackle” to the hook was sometimes necessary to encourage a bite. (We never admitted to using bait.)