While a pang of New Year nostalgia encompassed my thoughts yesterday, I sifted back through my old writings in an effort to reconnect with my former self. I came across a piece of paper I wrote describing my first outing with a fly rod that I thought I would share today.
The way I see it, the beginning can be just as important as the history inbetween and someday, another person will tell my ending…….
Many, many Moons ago……..
I wish~ I could claim that my first fly fishing trip was nothing but skillful casts of fly line and constant hook sets that brought beautiful trout to the waters at my feet.
I wish I could~ However, truth be told, the entire experience was anything but encouraging, inspiring or resembling the beauty I had always coveted in other fly fisherman.
I’ve noticed in Life~ With any episode you would prefer to forget, you can count on one good friend to bear witness so that you can never erase it. Bob Estep was with me on this first fly fishing expedition which is ironic because he was with me when I shot my first elk. (Personally, I’d like both experiences to hide in the back closet of my firsts that didn’t go so well, but he’s not one to forget anything) On the river he snapped pictures, he laughed at me and he encouraged me to keep trying. He even climbed trees to retrieve my precious few flies that had gone completely out of my control.
I caught~ I caught rocks, trees, and the bushes. I also hooked my forehead, the back of my neck, my legs and even the poor innocent bystander, Bob. The majority of the time my fly line was pooled on the ground or the water in front of me while I stared in confusion as to why I couldn’t glide my line through the air like a master of the fly fishing world.
I murdered a fish~ There’s no getting around this fact. Even if Bob hadn’t been there to witness such an event, I doubt I could refurbish my memories into something more appealing. My first fish on a fly rod, the one that I must claim and live with for the rest of my fly fishing days was a 3 inch fingerling that I yanked so hard out of the water with uncontained exuberation that it went flying like a silver bullet through the air and I had to duck to prevent a mild concussion. That poor little fish landed with a bounce 15 feet up the bank in the rocks. May it rest in peace…….
I am mortified~ Still………..I caught a second fish. Undeniably an accidental fish. With 10 yards of pooled fly line tangled up in the water in front of me, a little 8 inch trout took mercy, grabbed my drowned fly and started to straighten out my line through the water. Even in the face of huge optimism I doubt I could count this as a viable catch.
I won’t give up~ Not for a single moment. I know in my heart fly fishing is something I can learn in a lifetime. There’s a secret out there, a code I know nothing about–yet. My disastrous and trying first time taught me several lessons, but as I write this, the one I’ll focus on is….. fly fishing is much more than simply catching a fish. Someday I’ll get to the point when I can slice a line through the air as quietly and involuntary as the act of breathing. Someday I will perform art on the riverbanks.
Someday, I will call myself a fly fisherman.
Present day~ As my feet are firmly planted in 2010, I still look forward to a lifetime of learning the secrets and practicing the art of fly fishing………