Fly fishing is more than just one sport, but is rather a number of related artistic, sporting and athletic disciplines. There is fly-casting, fly tying, rod making, insect identification, white water boating, yarn spinning, and so forth. And then there is synchronized wading.
Many newcomers might not be aware that wading as a sport preceded many modern Olympic sports. Actually, the modern sports of gymnastics, ice hockey, diving, and swimming all have their historical roots in synchronized wading.
The modern era of synchronized wading began with the discovery of gum rubber in the 1800's. When applied as footwear to submerged rocks, rubber and its derivatives were
discovered to have the almost magical quality of reducing friction to zero. Thus was born the sport of synchronized wading. Pure unadorned rubber soles still represent the definitive equipment for synchronized wading, reserved for experts only. Most beginners utilize wading aids such as cleats, chains, spikes, or felt soles for years while in training for pure rubber.
Most sports begin with a natural activity. My own introduction to synchronized wading began in my first year of fly fishing while trying to cross the Upper Green River out of
Seattle. (Yes, it has been closed by a public utility to all public trespass, but not closed to fishing, for eighty years, but that's another story). Now, the upper Green is really a very
questionable river to be crossing, with major rapids, steep drops, and suck holes. My introduction to synchronized wading began in midstream when my wading staff, a dry, brittle stick picked up off the bank, broke. Incidentally, I have found that in sticks used as wading staffs, the more dry and brittle the better because the fracture is clean and
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