Real World Fly Fishing: Third Edition
Apparently, someone hasn't been working when they should be working. Or not fishing when they should be fishing. Nevertheless, the workaholics among us who are tired of playing Solitaire at work have Paul Halter to thank, and his great software game: Real World Fly Fishing. Sit back, log on, and pour yourself a tall cold glass of Look At The Size Of That Digital Fish!
Now, a game is supposed to make you sit back and take it easy as you go through the motions, acquire points, master the game, beat your friends. Even the highest quality software games create distance between yourself and the software fantasies unfolding on the screen. Not so with this fly fishing game. Suddenly, the distinction between sitting safely in your office and standing in a creek (or raging river or ocean) is not quiet so clear. Suddenly, it's deja vu fly fishing all over again.
After I installed the game and got it going, I was pleasantly surprised by the ph0torealistic images of currents, mountains, snakes, birds, and, of course, brown trout, brook trout, rainbows, steelhead, and ocean fish. I mean, these look like digitized images of the actual rivers, including Oak Valley Creek, Kanu River and the Deschutes. In fact one bend in the Deschutes looks very familiar to me.
Even the best software games have a touch of the cartoon about them. But Real World Fly Fishing has such realistic images of flowing water that I ended up leaving it loaded most of the day at work just to hear the sound of the birds and water that accompanies the gaming experience. Note to developer: make a screensaver.
The beginning and advanced fly fisher (and gamer) are all welcome. Most should begin at the Beginner level--or you'll end up losing all your fish to thrown flies and broken tippets. Once you get used to the game, you'll learn that to play well (and to catch the bigger fish), you need to think like a flyfisher. You'll learn, for example, to sample the water first (with the Check Hatch feature) before selecting one of dozens of mayfly, caddis, stonefly, terrestrial, or other patterns, all in a dozen different sizes and colors.
And if you prefer other flies, you can design your own digital fly masterpiece, by selecting dozens of hook styles, tail styles, body materials, hackle, and other material to suit your digital fancy.
You'll probably want to select the ideal rod for the water conditions. There are many rod lengths to select, as well as line type, leader length and tippet diameter. Oh, and maybe you want to put some weight on the leader, and maybe a strike indicator. Fortunately, this software gives choices of different configurations of weight and indicator.
Be warned though: If you've put on too much weight for the conditions of the particular creek that you're fishing, a helpful voice will chirp in to say that you should consider less weight. If the dry fly gets too wet, you'll get more advice to add floatant, using, of course, the Floatation option. And if you mistakenly try to add split shot to a dry fly, you'll be told about that, too. Keep in mind, that the quality of your decisions here has a serious impact on the success of your digital fishing!
Now, you're ready to fish. Casting is where the real fun begins. Here, too, you need to think like a flyfisher, with 10 and 12 o'clock positions using your mouse or Force Feedback joystick. I use a ball-on-top mouse for thumb control, and casting actions seem to work fine. But as in real life fishing, the casting motions need to be precise, or you'll cast into the bush or slap the water. Here, again, the friendly commentator will chirp in if you're too far off course--and the software will punish you with puny fish or none if you don't cast reasonably well.
As in life (well, for some of us), the huge fish can get away if you aren't careful. If you're leader is too light, or if your drag isn't set low enough, say goodbye to the 35-inch redside on the Deschutes River simulation.
If you get a little lost, a large company of users are a few mouse clicks away to help you. The Pishtech site has a user forum to help with advice. A number of add-ons and downloadable fishing locations are available from them in a software development kit (for the software fly fishing developers out there).
There is no point in asking, How do they do software like this? Just sit back, blow off work, and catch some digital fish to break up the day. After all, the worst day at work pursuing digital fish is better than the best day at work when you are, er, not playing your digital fish. Or something like that. Sorry, I need to get back to the game. Play on. I mean, Fish on.
--Toney J. Sisk
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