Stories

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

{ 13 comments }

Outdoor Adventures: Living The Dream

by Rebecca on November 30, 2009

in Outdoor Observations

I’ve been known to load up an SUV with bare essentials and fly solo for days on end (sometimes a week or more) adrift and 100% alone. I’ll grab fly fishing paraphernalia, a sleeping bag, a pillow, a few items of clothing, a single cooler for my diet coke addiction and food items if there’s any room left (priorities ya know). Ok, and I should mention because it’s my Fathers one essential requirement I take when I go on my trips, I also bring a gun. The big bad world has been warned~

Those stolen, or perhaps they are taken, times in my life are perfect for solitary decompression and quiet thought. My trips usually require a lot of drive time because busting out on my own and going 2 hours away from the house would seem……insignificant. I need distance and anything less than a 4 hour drive just doesn’t do it, not to forget here, fishing is always better the farther away one gets, cardinal rule.

Karl "Trout Whisperer" Seckinger

Karl "Trout Whisperer" Seckinger

I don’t mind the drive time. I usually listen to a book on tape, or crank up some good music, roll down my window and let life as I’m required to live it, far behind. I highly recommend such individual adventures. Time alone, and I mean, really alone….is good for the outdoor soul.

Today I find myself excited to put one more CD in my arsenal of drive time companionship. Recently I got the audio CD ”Outdoor Adventures” by Karl “Trout Whisperers” Seckinger.

Listening to this CD is like pulling up a lawn chair next to a campfire, kicking back and listening to a master storyteller mesmerize you with adventures from his life.

Karl’s adventures center around his time in the Superior National Forest. His stories have you fishing, hiking, hunting right along side him and his occasional companions. It’s definitely something I could listen to over and over……Check out this link for more information and an audio sample of what I’m writing about today…….Trout Whisperer CD “Outdoor Adventures” It’s the perfect mood setter when you’re driving to those far off destinations, or even when you’re stuck like a prisoner in your own home and need a mental escape ~

And on that note….I hope everyone takes time to venture out and find outdoor adventure on their own, alone and without influence of others . The gun is optional of course, except for me……

Rebecca

{ 4 comments }

My Fly Fishing Mentor: Casting an Idea

by Rebecca on November 18, 2009

in Fly Fishing

~Drifting~

~Drifting~

One of my favorite things to ask people I come across that either fish or fly fish is who was the person in their life that planted the idea or introduced them into the world of Fish. As I wrote recently, My Dad was my first Mentor in Fishing.

Before fly fishing, I was a spinning reel girl, limited to fishing lures and salmon eggs. I was never, ever, a worm using girl because (go ahead and laugh but this is my one and only fear in life) I always harbored and still do, an irrational and extremely serious phobia of worms (**double shudder** for even mentioning them) ……..done laughing yet? Ok, good. Anyway, as I was saying, I very much considered myself a fishing gal who used a tackle box, the words, “Fishing Pole”  and felt exceptionally loyal to my #2 mepps.

When I first met my Fly Fishing Mentor I already knew he was into fishing– thats what happens when a middle person says, “you should meet so & so, they fish like you do” and vice versa– so I was poised and ready to impress him with my already established fishing addiction. He would probably argue with my rendition of this moment because his memory is solid and mine leans more to blank spots and fanciful interpretations, but no matter which version I go with, the insult remains the same.

I said, “I love to fish”
He said, “What type of fishing do you do?”
I said, “Mostly trout”
He said, “No, with what do you fish?”
I said, “My fishing pole, lures, salmon eggs, the normal.”
He said, “Ohh…if you call that, fishing….well when you’re ready to try Fly Fishing, let me know…”

Insulted! So I huffed and puffed and decided instantly that he was a fly fishing snob from the S.F. of the Ass River. He knew that he had insulted me, and when we talked about it later, he admitted that’s exactly what he intended to do…just like a fisherman, he baited me…he threw a insult fly and I grabbed the barbed hook in my mouth like an eager little fish. I did give a good fight, I demanded to know why his fishing was more profound and meaningful than my fishing and as he explained, I grew enthralled, and jealous, and probably drooled with envy as well.

By the time he had put me through his premeditated form of fly fishing conversion I was ready to devote myself to a new religion. My first lesson came in speech pattern. I was immediately banned from saying “fishing pole” ever again.

I had two obstacles to overcome. First, my Fly Fishing Mentor lived in Colorado (I’m in Idaho) and two, I didn’t have a Fly Rod. While I toiled and slaved to save for a Fly Rod, my Mentor started instructions from afar. I became a daily student of fly fishing long before I held a fly rod in my hot little hands.

When I finally had my fly rod, I was on my own, but full of information and armed with a small box of hand tied flies my Mentor had sent me in preparation for my maiden voyage. I wish I could say that first trip was remarkable, it wasn’t, but it produced 2 fish by pure accident and one hook embedded in my forehead……so at least it was memorable.

Maddison River

Blinded but grinning on the Madison River

I struggled for a month on my own until I was finally able to meet with my Mentor for a hands on course in fly fishing. Our first rendezvous spoiled me rotten because it was in Montana and Yellowstone Park, but it wasn’t without challenges. Two weeks before our scheduled trip I thought I’d be cute while rock climbing and took a fall that resulted in one broken ankle and a robot boot to make life interesting. I didn’t let it slow me down for a second and simply strapped my boot over my waders. In the course of several days my Mentor showed me everything I had been doing wrong, his secrets, and the weight of a noteworthy fish on my line. I fell in love with many things during those defining days and still look back at it as one of my favorite times in life.

After that weekend my Mentor and I got together to fish as often as possible. His guidance was invaluable to my learning and because of him I’ve experienced fishing in the way I had dreamed about when I was a little girl watching those elusive fly fishing men perform their magical art across the water. My gratitude today is as strong as it felt the first weekend we cut the air with our fly lines. Thank you T- for the insult that got my attention and for giving me a lifetime gift~

Rebecca

{ 11 comments }

Guest Post: Salmon Fishing Showdown

by Rebecca on November 16, 2009

in Salmon Fishing

~”Salmon Fishing Showdown” is written by my 14 year old daughter Kaitlyn. Enjoy!~

~Kaitlyn Fish On~

~Kaitlyn Fish On~

This was my first time salmon fishing. Robert and my Mom, Rebecca, kept chuckling when they looked at me, for I hadn’t stopped grinning since the moment they told me we were going salmon fishing.

I was imagining a leisurely fishing trip with the family, but I had no idea what was to come. All I knew, as I headed far into the mountains of Idaho, was that salmon fishing wasn’t going to be like fly fishing for trout, or sturgeon, crappie, blue gills, or any fish I have fished before.

Getting there felt like an eternity, I had to ask, “So, just how far back in the mountains is this place?” Robert, seemingly unsurprised by me asking that, simply answered, “Only about 40 miles more. It just seems longer because you have to go unreasonably slow on these mountainous roads.”  We finally got there and the first thing I asked was  “So, when are we gonna go fishing?”  “After we unpack,” they answered in unison.

“Ugh,” the sound escaped my mouth before I could stop it, resulting in me earning two glares. I hate unpacking, I would absolutely love trips if there wasn’t the whole packing and unpacking part. Thankfully it didn’t take too long.

They had to be joking. I stood there staring at the torrent of white water in front of me. Eventually, I turned to them, with a look of disbelief on my face and said, “I’m supposed to fish in that? You must be kidding! I doubt you could catch a fish in that water.” But they just said, “Trust us.” I probably wouldn’t have listened to them if there hadn’t been a line of people casting lines into the rapids.

Before I could join the line of people trying their luck fishing, I had to learn the Salmon Fishing System. The rules are pretty simple, and as long as you follow them other fishermen and women won’t get angry at you.

Salmon Fishing System:
     1. 1st come 1st serve. If you want a spot you have to be the first person on the river to claim it.
     2. Just because you got a spot one day doesn’t mean you get it the next day.
     3. And whatever you do, if you have a desirable spot, don’t leave it or else it may be gone by the time you go back to it.
     4. Stay in turn. This is a major one. If you don’t pay attention and stay in turn most people will skip you after 5 seconds. DO NOT GO OUT OF TURN, this is the difference between life and death. When you go out of turn you are casting over other people’s lines and will get them in a giant birds nest (knot). This tends to make most fishermen extremely angry.
     5. Yell “Fish On!” at the top of your lungs if you have a fish on the line. For fish go up and down river trying to get off the line. If you don’t yell it may tangle with other lines, making the other fishermen angry and resulting in you losing the fish.
     6. If someone yells fish on, reel in your line like there is no tomorrow. You never want to be responsible for a person losing their fish.

After mom explained this to me, we started heading down river to practice. When we got down far enough that they wouldn’t count us into the group, I was shown the drift I wanted to catch. It took me awhile to get the hang of casting the new reel I had gotten just for this, but when I did, my mom and I started working our way back up to the group. Eventually we were a part of the action and I had been introduced to many of the people on the river.

Robert holding Kaitlyns Big Fish

Robert holding Kaitlyns Big Fish

They were all incredibly nice and patient for the newcomer, and were constantly giving me tips, even if some of them contradicted themselves. One even offered to let me use some of his pre-tied baits. Eventually I felt a sharp tug on my line. I yanked with all my might, the fish stayed on the line.

“Fish on!!!” I hollered to the people around me. Everyone started reeling as fast as their reels would let them. After a long tough fight, I got the fish to the shore. The disappointing part was that it was native wild salmon so we had to take it out of the net and let it go really fast. But I was still ecstatic. I was bursting with pride and joy that I had actually caught a fish. Many people had been fishing for days and not even had a bite. As we quickly set my beloved slimy salmon in the water to let it go, congratulations coming from all directions, I knew I was instantly hooked on salmon fishing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get another fish to the shore the rest of the trip. Though I still had loads of fun with my new fishing friends.

During this trip I learned many lessons, and was reminded of many, too.. The biggest lesson was to wait my turn. If you don’t wait while in the line you can infuriate many people by casting over and tangling their lines. Another lesson, is to pay attention and not slack off because if you do, you may miss your chance. You may never get another chance like it, and you‘ll never know what would have come out of it.

Kaitlyn

{ 14 comments }

Murder of a Fly Rod: Till Death Did Us Part

November 13, 2009

My first Fly Rod was a Redington Redstart. I purchased it when I was in my twenties and at the time I was about as broke as a twenty year old could be. I knew I wanted to fly fish, I knew I didn’t want to buy my fly rod from K-mart and my soon to be full time Fly [...]

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Why I adhere to a strict Hip Waders only Policy: Temptation

October 31, 2009

Ask a thousand people how they want to die and 995 people will say, “peacefully in my sleep” as the preferred method of departure. From that predictable point the various ways one can bite the bullet are endless. Each individual harbors personal death preferences and for me, death by drowning is extremely low on my desired ways of walking toward the light. When I first started [...]

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Outdoor Journal: Tales of Tree Stand Terror

October 28, 2009

Morning and Evening Hunt~  6 Bull Elk 12 Cow 7 Moose So many Mule deer I lost track The morning hunt was utterly unremarkable. Nothing to even report. This evening I was banished to the tree stand. I knew this moment would come despite my reservations and feeble attempts at hinting that I wasn’t so sure [...]

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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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Outdoor Journal: Elk Hunting

October 22, 2009

First Day of Elk Hunting—-Finally!! Morning Hunt Animals Seen: 3 Moose (1 Huge Bull Moose) 9 Deer 1 group of 3 bulls by themselves 5X5 bull at 65 yards Another herd of 6 Elk All by 10:30 a.m. Dale and I got into excessive noise trouble right out the gate by talking too loud in the [...]

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Outdoor Journal: An Introduction

October 22, 2009

The official Explanation ~ On August 15th 2007, I started a handwritten field journal of my hunting and fishing experiences. That day happened to be the opening day of Antelope season and I have packed my little brown leather journal with me on every trip since. I’ve shared my handwritten field journal with several people and each [...]

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