Saturday, January 4, 2014

Reminiscing (on How I Got Hooked on Fly-Fishing)

     I sit here relaxing after a long day's work thinking about how I got into fly fishing.  I can honestly say that I still remember the first fish I caught, although I don't remember which fly I caught it on.  I had watched "A River Runs Through It," and the style of fishing really intrigued me and honestly drew me in.  I was so impressed, and I knew this was what I wanted to do (I wonder how many others out there were inspired by this movie in one way or another).  By that point, I had been fishing for quite some time. I know I was ten or eleven, and I had been fishing since I was three or four. I mean really fishing. I remember going with my dad and his buddies and having to wear a neon green Mr. Yuck life preserver that said "don't drown, it will ruin your day" with a rope tied from my dad's waist to mine, but that's a whole other story (There was another time when I was fishing with my dad, and I remember having this get-up on and him using a hammer to break the ice so that we could fish, but that's also a whole other story).
    After I watched the movie, I went digging through the mountain of fishing gear that my father and I had accumulated over the years, mostly my dad's, but nonetheless I was pretty sure there was a fly-rod there somewhere, along with a reel.  With some help from my dad, I had what I was looking for. Armed with my new/used fly-rod we headed to our camp, which is in Emporium, Pennsylvania.  I had been going to fishing camps for quite some time, and the things you learn being ten and hanging out with a group of men ranging in age from twenty-five to seventy in a fishing camp is awesome (although my mother might tell you differently). These were some of the best times of my life, and I reflect on them often when I go to a certain spot or run into a certain guy.  I can't recall exactly who was there this particular trip, but they were all die-hard bait fisherman, including my dad and myself,  and they were pretty good at too.  We went to the first fork of the Sinnemahoning, and somehow we wound up on the delayed harvest area.  I would say that my dad had something to do with the choice of fishing spot, due to the fact that I was determined to learn how to fly-fish. 
     The timing was perfect. I hit the water with my run-of-the-mill fly-box in hand that could be found in any hardware store at that point (We all know the one. Royal Wolfe, Black Joe Fly, etc.)  After catching quite a few fish they stopped hitting the mealworm, and I knew this was the perfect time to try this out.  The water was boiling,  the fish were rising like crazy,  and for those of you who aren't familiar with the sport this means nothing unless you match the hatch, have the right fly.  I remember casting and casting and hoping and praying that something would just come up and eat it, but nothing happened.  I wasn't sure how to get one of these fish to eat, but I was sure of one thing. I was not giving up, especially after the razzing I was getting from the bank.  The fish were not eating bait anymore. They were strictly eating flies and the other men had given up and went to drinking beer on the bank and picking at me.  I remember getting frustrated and I was ready to throw in the towel and join in on some stories when my dad chimed in. "Hey Son, I'll tell you what. If you catch a fish on that thing, I'll take you to Kettle Creek Fly Shop and buy you anything you want." Boy did he regret that.  I thought for many years that he was harassing me, but looking back on it now, I really think he was trying to keep me going, knowing what type of mentality I have.  It wasn't much after that that everything came together, and I caught a beautiful rainbow on a dry fly.  I am pretty sure of one thing. I put the hurt on my pops wallet; he kept his end of the deal and took me straight to the fly shop and bought me the full set up and some flies to go with it.  I still have the rod and was looking at it while my dad was over for the holidays,  I think that I am going to bust it out for a few trips this year.  That is if my shoulder is up for it, seeing as it weighs ten pounds.  The rest is history. We both wound up getting very deep into the sport and fell in love with it.  I hope that I get to pass this on to my kids one day. I will never forget these times.