This week is National Fishing and Boating Week. To celebrate, Producer Dave Fraser joined expert angler Richard Taupier on the Westfield River in Chesterfield to discuss his love of bamboo fishing rods, and passion for fly fishing. 

Read the full transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: This week is National Fishing and Boating Week, and to celebrate, producer Dave Fraiser joined expert angler Richard Taupier on the Westfield River and Chesterfield to discuss his love of bamboo fishing rods and passion for fly fishing.

Richard Taupier, Expert Angler: I started as a kid, my dad always fished with a bamboo fly rod, and so I sort of picked it up a little bit from him, though I didn’t start fishing — fly fishing — until I was twenty one.

And then I was living in Williamsburg at the time, and had the Mill River right next door to the house. And I bought myself an inexpensive fly rod and reel and and I was hooked.

This particular fly rod, of course, is a bamboo rod made by the Leonard Rod Company in the Catskills in New York State.

Bamboo fly rods first began to be built shortly after the Civil War. So 1860s, probably even a little bit before that. The first makers were from Maine, Pennsylvania, and New York.

As fly fishing evolved, people became interested in dry fly fishing. And so they started making fly rods that were much shorter, much stiffer, a kind of faster action. And the idea was to be able to very delicately float a dry fly to land on the surface of the water, much like a natural insect would do, and not disturb the fish underneath and cause the fish to come up and take the fly right off the surface.

We’re in — on the east branch of the Westfield River, just below the Chesterfield Gorge. This area, from the Chesterfield Gorge to the Naperville Dam, the river is about seven miles long here. It is a catch and release area.

It means that the river sustains a population of fish much longer. And matter of fact, they don’t have to stock as much because the fish reproduce naturally in the river. So, you have both wild fish and you have some stock fish.

This fly is an imitation of a mayfly called an ice anikia. And I used this fly the other day, with some luck here on the river, so I don’t see any flies right now, nothing flying around or hatching. So, I’m going to go with something that I know worked the other day and hope that it works today as well.

Fly fishing goes back to the time when Americans first became interested in nature and natural settings as sort of recreational venues, as opposed to working venues. And so urbanites, as compared to people who lived in rural areas, when they vacationed they liked to hunt and to fish.

So, you tend to end up in places that are very kind of scenic, very natural. They can’t really be disturbed a great deal. And they’re places where you just get a tremendous amount of enjoyment just being in those locations.

I often say to people that I have been in some of the most beautiful places in the world, fly fishing and not catching fish. And it’s because of the beauty that sometimes the catching of the fish is really almost incidental.