Small Fish

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


Size Matters Not When Fishing

by Rebecca on October 21, 2009

in Fly Fishing

Small but Beautiful Trout

~Small but Beautiful Trout~

Several years ago I lost Robert to his pursuit of big fish. Leisure trips to the local river flyfishing for a standard 12 inch trout no longer impressed him. Although my arms have felt the difference between hauling in a 9 foot sturgeon (pain and torture, oh joy) to a 40 inch salmon (fantastic fight) and a 12 inch trout (always enjoyable) my mind has yet to draw a line in the size sand. In my world, a fish is a fish, no matter the size and any fish is an opportunity to go fishing, so lets just go and catch some damn fish no matter their magnitude. (Robert)

Because Flyfishing is always my first choice in fishing excursions, I’ll always hold a special spot in my fishing heart for Trout—all species, all colors, all sizes. Flyfishing and Trout are like the chicken and the egg. One does not exist without the other and no one really cares which came first, just so long as we have both.

I could wax poetically about the beauty and tranquility of flyfishing for little trout, but I’ll spare the masses. When it comes down to it, for me, the act of fishing, whether for big lunkers or spunky little brookies, is about getting outdoors and enjoying the challenge. I believe for Robert, it’s about the adrenilene rush when he has a 9 foot sturgeon spooling his line or when it’s the mad war zone of salmon fishing. In his world, if he hasn’t broken a sweat or his arm isn’t sore the next day, he implies it’s hardly worth the effort.

I enjoy catching a 24 inch brown trout or hooking into a huge salmon for the wild rides just as much as I enjoy catching the little guys. I call it an ‘open minded fish perspective’ of the non-size judgemental kind.

The non-judgement concept works well when I feel the need to guilt Robert into coming leisure fishing with me. He might grumble about the lack of potential size from the truck, but I’ve noticed he always comes around the second his line hits the water. Once he’s there, he’ll fish just as hard for a pan sized trout as he would for a King Salmon in Alaska. It goes a little something like this once the lines hit the water seeking dime a dozen trout:

Robert “Fish On!” Bellowed just as loud as he does when hooking into a salmon.
Rebecca “Nice one, ummm, by the way, you don’t have to set the hook so hard, flyfishing isn’t meant to be taken literally, fish aren’t supposed to fly through the air like that”
Robert “Fish on! And this one is 8 inches! Have youuuu got one this big? Huh? Have ya? THIS BIG?”
Rebecca “Nice one, almost big enough for a snack”
Robert “Fish on!!!!!! Biggest one on the river so far, 10 inches, do you have the camera?”
Rebecca “Nice one, you’re sure excited, maybe the little ones are worth your time after all.”
Robert “Just practising for steelhead season.”

I don’t buy it. I’ve watched him out there just as enthralled as I am. That’s the thing about fishing, even the little fish can humble the big guys ~

I don’t know how other people feel about fish size and worthiness of time. For now, I’m sticking with my no measure tape needed mantra.