Fly Fishing Starts with a Humble Beginning

by Rebecca on January 2, 2010

in Fly Fishing

~If you look really close, there is a fish in this picture~

~If you look really closely, you will indeed see a fish in this picture~

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………

Rebecca Anne


Fraudulent Fishing Behaviors

by Rebecca on December 2, 2009

in Fly Fishing

~Jack Salmon~

~Jack Salmon caught on a fluff of tied yarn. I'm so sneaky~

They say you can judge the character of a man by the company he keeps. (I’ll assume that principle applies to woman as well)  I know I gravitate to those I would consider like minded individuals who enjoy the same things I do. So basically that means I hang out with fisher types who consider a day on the water superior to just about any other entertainment possibilities out there. 

It also means the company I keep is well versed in the fine art of fraudulent behavior. The way I see it, we fisherman lean so heavily on the fraud front we all could be pinned as the masters of deception. Ask any fish and I have no doubt they could confirm.

We are all participants of fraud, lies, deceit, misrepresentations, shams and scams, i.e., flies, lures, bait, casting, presentation etc…Throw in a bucket of fishing tales and erroneous fishing advice and we’ve got a solid case of fraudulent characteristics for the whole lot of us.

I don’t believe any of us need to visit a confessional over our acts of deception against fish. They are fish and we are the humans who work so hard at fooling them. Clearly we are the superior species that need not explain or justify our counterfeit efforts. We only need to observe one fisherman standing in partially frozen water with blue lips and icicles hanging out his nose to appreciate his repeated act of deception as pure brilliance. The whole scenario makes logical sense and only a non-fisher would question the rationale of it all……..

I think the deception of fish as a general human habit shouldn’t count against our personalities. However, I’m not so sure about the behavior we occasionally display towards the other fisherman out thrashing water with us. The little white lies that tend to slip out fall into a new level of fraud. Is it really so bad to add an inch to a fish no one actually saw? Is it a crime of the moral compass to imply you caught those 5 great big submarine fish on a #12 stonefly when in reality you caught them on #18 disco midge? Are such misrepresentations significant enough to blemish a persons wholesome demeanor?

There is of course the unavoidable question on the waterway, “Have you caught anything today?” Answering this question truthfully or shrouded in deception falls into the case by case scenerio with sublevels, exceptions, iron clad rules and subjective interpretations.
For example:

You’ve caught 3 fish. Your friend sloshes up the river looking defeated and asks, “Catch anything yet?”
Possible levels of truth:
     1)You drove, but friend didn’t chip in for gas: Answer “Couple of bites”
     2) Last fishing trip, friend caught 15 and you were skunked: Answer “Hell Ya, 5 so far!”
     3) Friend still hasn’t replaced the 5 flies he borrowed and lost on the last trip: Answer “Nope.”
     4) Friend brought coffee and an extra granola bar for you: Answer “3 fish on a Caddis Larva.”

And so on…….Strangers encountered can be answered on the sliding scale of personal mood.  Just smile while you answer and anything will sound peachy.

I don’t mean to imply we are all liars and of low character, not at all. I happen to think fisher souls are some of the best quality people around. I’m just merely remarking today on the fine art of fraudulent behavior fishing requires in all of us. On the whole, I surround myself with people who know a little sumthin about trickery and I’m good with that fact.

Disclaimer 1: Any ideas I may have expressed in the above paragraphs should fall into the acceptable guidelines of deceptive fishing practices when applied properly.
Disclaimer 2:…..just in case anyone is thinking it, I promise to always tell the fishing truth on these web pages. On my Fisherman’s honor……



Fishing Companions: Ones that Don’t Talk

by Rebecca on October 29, 2009

in Fly Fishing

~Bandon and I, heart to heart~

~Bandon and I, heart to heart~

I fly fish alone the majority of the time…, now, don’t feel bad for me. I consider my solitary fly flinging excursions a result of natural selection and been there, done that. Apart from going with a few select individuals, a few predictable fly buddies, I’ve found fly fishing is on par with a trip to heaven and I see no need to drag a few potential sinners along to tempt the water gods. (again, been there, done that)

However, I do have one very predictable and always loyal fishing companion and she is the El Dog. Also known as Bandon. A sweet tempered Golden Retriever who is my constant shadow.

Bandon wasn’t acquired to play the part of constant fishing companion, no, not at all. She was purchased to be a reliable duck/goose hunting dog but despite her neurotic fetching addiction, a duck or goose is completely beneath her girly tastes. Essentially, the dog wouldn’t touch anything with a feather even if you slathered it with bacon grease and stapled a lamb chop to it. No freaking way she declared as she stuck her nose in the air and pranced back to my side during many (many MANY) feeble training sessions.

A Hard Day on the River

A Hard Day on the River

Going fishing however, was right up her alley. Because she’s so girly, and polite, with a set of impeccable dog manners, she’s never, ever, a pain on the river. She’s content to stand chest deep in the river with a stick in her jaws for hours waiting for her big chance to fetch something. She doesn’t move an inch towards random people as they walk by and other dogs are irrelevant nuisances she sometimes encounters but typically won’t give them the time of day. She’s got me in her line of sight and that’s the only thing that seems to matters in her world.

Must Not Look

Must Not Look

I have come to the conclusion that once a decision to go fishing has been made, we humans must give off a certain excited aroma or aura that only dogs….or maybe it’s just my dog…..can pick up on. The moment I decide to go fishing, without saying anything, without even going to the closet to get my gear, Bandon picks up on the ”going fishing” scent and darts to the front door, guard style, as if to remind me that if I am going fishing it would be blasphemy, a true mortal sin of dog ownership,  if I left her home. Because she knows that’s exactly what my plans are.

Nope, NOT going to Look

Nope, NOT going to Look

This is a good time to mention that my darling timid companion is also terrified of cameras, so the odds of ever taking a decent picture of her and posting it is slim at best. I think I have 2, maybe 3 where she didn’t have a chance to twist her head sideways. It seems at some point in time she deemed the camera her version of potential ‘death by looking’, a Medusa like contraption that will turn her into instant stone if she looks directly at one. Maybe that will change as we continue with, “project desensitize Bandon to the camera” but so far the therapy isn’t working.

For many, many years I simply went fishing by myself, but now that I have Bandon, I can’t imagine not taking her. She’s excited for me when I catch a fish and always there to encourage me along. Now if only she could learn how to collaborate my claimed fish stories I’d be doing good.



Fly Fishing Attire: Runways On The River

by Rebecca on October 27, 2009

in Fly Fishing

~Two accessories on this day ~ Fly bag and Fly Rod~

~Two accessories on this day ~ Fly bag and Fly Rod~

I haven’t seen him in a few years, but there was a flyfisherman I’d occasionally catch a glimpse of in Yellowstone Park (on the Yellowstone river) while I was fly fishing for gorgeous cutthroats. Truth be told, there was no way to miss, or forget  the man because he was always decked out in NEON GREEN among other wild colors.

Sadly, I never got the chance to talk to him so I have no name, no identity to call him other than, Mr. Neon. I imagine he is, or was, well known on the Yellowstone, what with all the guides and fly fishing guru’s prowling the banks, but I’ve never been in any fly fishing loops, so I wouldn’t know. I loved knowing Mr. Neon was out wading the waters at the same time I was because his “fly fishing attire i.e. WILD outfits” made my less than magazine worthy attire more forgettable amid all the high style fly guys.

I wasn’t always such a river slacker in the fashion department.  There was a time when I first started fly fishing that I probably over compensated for my lack of fly skills by dressing the part from head to toe. I was a walking taupe and khaki wannabe with more pockets than I knew what to do with. That’s right, I looked flashy, stylish and like I just stepped off the cover of a magazine. My fly may have been embedded in my forehead from ineptitude, but by gawd I looked the part!

I was also terribly uncomfortable. First I had the chest waders that not only made my ass look like the state of Texas, but they were annoying, I was always poking holes in the neoprene and they promoted death risking wades into deep waters. I did not like chest waders, ever, and eventually gave them up.

I also burdened myself with a Fly Vest that had so many pockets I could have hid the hope diamond in there and no one would have ever found it. Usually when I needed tippet it took no less then 10 minutes to discover which pocket I had haphazardly tossed it in. My fly vest was also heavy and cumbersome. Part of that could be blamed on the fact that I am female and can not resist the natural instincts to gather—-and pack—and stuff—as many things as possible into any sort of storage container and pockets certainly fall into storage mentality.

Give me a fly vest with 25 pockets and you can be damn sure I’ll find something to go into all 25 pockets.

So these days I can be found looking less like an Orvis worshiper and more like an unassuming slouch who just happens to be walking down a river bank with a fly rod. I toss on any old t-shirt, and rarely is any particular fishing brand displayed or an arched fish highlighting my back. I pull on hip waders over jeans, sweats, or shorts and let it go at that. (and if I can get away with NOT wearing waders, I’ll pick that choice quickly and without apology)

This Outfit Would NOT make the cover of a Magazine!

This Outfit Would NOT make the cover of a Magazine!

Once I learned how to actually fly fish, I realized a lot of the things I hauled around with me weren’t exactly necessary. Does one really need mini-binoculars, an entire first aid kit, 10 separate fly boxes and a partridge in a pear tree just to catch a fish? The obvious answer to that was no, I didn’t need those 4 crushed granola bars and the emergency rain poncho. So I pared down, way down, to a small Patagonia fly bag that I strap over my much smaller, waderless ass.

 Just call me,  flyfishing ZEN~

 Yes, there are times when I’m fishing and an affluent looking flyfisherman will walk by (on his way to a photo shoot no doubt) and I wonder if my outward appearance plummets outsider opinion of my flyfishing credibility… Then I remember how uncomfortable I was decked out in all the latest fashions and I turn around, spy another trout surfacing and get back to what matters most.

One thing I know as fact…. thankfully, the trout could care less what I’m wearing……….


Fishing Mentors: My Dad Inspired Me

October 26, 2009

There are two people I can credit with mentoring my fishing evolution. Today’s entry is about my first mentor. I credit my own Father with introducing me to the Great Outdoors and specifically, fishing. He christened me when I was a 6 week old baby with a Mepps Treble hook to the forehead and I [...]

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Fly Fishing Identity: FlyLady? Flychick? Flygirl?

October 24, 2009

Men have it easy in this department and I imagine they have never looked at this name thing from a female perspective. They are Flyfisherman. A.K.A. Fisherman, the universal meaning for those that cast a line. Considering guys started the activity, I guess it’s only fair they get the easiest designation. But when you are female, the lines [...]

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Fly Fishing: Fly By Questions

October 22, 2009

One of the best parts about fishing is the people one meets while charting their own fishing destiny. Paths cross, people toss lines into the same body of water and we all share a similar goal—-catch fish. We share nods or smiles as we respectfully adhere to wide margins of personal fishing space (except in salmon fishing, [...]

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Sturgeon Fishing, Mental Tenacity Required

October 21, 2009

I know what people think when I tell them I live in Idaho. Visions of potato farms and cow tipping swirl in a cloud of presumption above their heads. Outsider minds will probably throw in a four door diesel truck with a large rifle duct tapped to the back window along with a ‘I heart [...]

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