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The Angler As Predator with Gary Borger

Every fly fisher is to some degree a predator – at least to the fish – and fish react to us with fear, as they would to any predator. As a de facto predator, we need to recognize and utilize those skills that minimize fishes’ ability to detect us. In the club’s June presentation, our good friend and highly respected fishing expert Gary Borger will use an informative and light-hearted approach to cover the readily applicable skills that help anglers develop needed predatory skills that will help achieve success on any stream or lake.

And this means understanding the way fish perceive us, both visually and acoustically. And since light and sound behave differently in air and water, the fly fisher needs to recognize the differences between the way a predator and the prey react to such sensory input.

No one is better suited to lead us on this journey than our brilliant presenter. Gary Borger holds a BS (1966), and an MS (1968) from Penn State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1971). He is Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Wisconsin Campus in Wausau where he taught for 28 years. During his career, he was presented with the Teacher of the Year Award on two different occasions and his achievements have been recognized in “Who’s Who in Science and Engineering” and “Outstanding People of the 20th Century.”

He has been a fly fisher since 1955, and, since 1972, has taught classes and lectured internationally on all aspects of fly fishing for trout and salmon. Gary has written ten best-selling books on fly fishing: “Nymphing,” “Naturals,” “ The Borger Color System,” “Designing Trout Flies,” “Presentation,” “Fishing the Film,” “Reading Waters,” “Long Flies,” “The Angler as Predator,” and “Fly Gear.” Gary pioneered fly fishing video instruction with his release of “Nymphing” in 1982. Since then he has appeared in four videos for the 3M Company and, in cooperation with the Federation of Fly Fishers, produced the environmental video “Where The Trout Are.” His video production company has produced an additional 21 internationally acclaimed videos.

Gary was also a consultant on Robert Redford’s movie “A River Runs Through It.” He is a recipient of the Ross Allen Merigold Complete Angler Memorial Award, the Charles K. Fox Rising Trout Award, the Joan and Lee Wulff Conservation Award, the Buz Buszek Memorial Fly Tying Award and the Lifetime Achievement in Fly Casting Instruction Award from the Federation of Fly Fishers. In recognition of this work (and many other awards and achievements), Gary received the first Lew Jewett Memorial Life Membership in the Federation of Fly Fishers in 1979. Gary is currently working on a 20-book series, titled Fly Fishing, and is working with Hardy of England to promote their excellent rods and reels.

We asked Gary how he got started in fly fishing, and he sent us this very personal memoir:

Fly Fishing is an arcane sport, and all who enter have their own reasons and entrance methodologies. Some “inherit” it from their parents or grandparents, others from relatives or friends, perhaps members of a club. My reasons were rather simple. I read about fly fishing in my father’s outdoor magazines, and the idea of it totally captivated my young imagination. Though no one else in my family fished, let alone fly fished, I was, none-the-less, determined to make fly fishing my own. I asked my parents for a fly tying kit as the present for my 11th Christmas. They obliged, and I began assembling the most extraordinarily ugly flies ever seen. The next spring I cobbled together some fly gear and began fishing my crudely tied imitations. The first trout was a 10-inch stocked rainbow, caught on a Coachman wet fly a few weeks before my 12th birthday. That catch firmly cemented fly fishing to the core of my being, where it has ruled ever since.

If you want to discover more about Gary and his amazing career and read some of his columns, go to: