"What is that," I asked my Grandfather, as we walked along the cold mountain stream. "That's fly fishing," he replied.
As he continued throwing his spinner, I sat, watching a man so graceful in his movements.
After a couple of minutes I asked my Grandfather, "why is his fishing pole so long? And why does he keep pulling the line behind him"? "Someday I'll show you," he says to me.
Well that day never had a chance to come.
I had fished nearly all my life, mainly in freshwater stream, rivers, and lakes.
Encounters with fly fishers were not uncommon on Pennsylvania waters. And, I always looked at them somewhat differently, almost as if they were weird. But, I was intrigued by this weird way of fishing.
I'd watched hunting and fishing shows on TV in high school. All of them, except if they were fly fishing. Afterall, I did not own that type of equipment.
I had little trouble catching some fish on spinning tackle, so why change methods if you already know what works. And besides, that fly fishing looked much too difficult to learn. I was there to catch fish.
During my college years, fishing was a religion to me. I would fish on the two on-campus ponds, or go to several nearby streams for trout.
There was also a lake down the road a friend and myself would sometimes kayak on and fish.
I spent a ton of my free time outdoors, perhaps four to five days a week doing something.
During a late Spring trip to the Pigg River in South Western Virginia, a friend and I walked up on a man that was fly fishing. We said Hello as he was casting, he did not turn around but said hello in reply.
We stood there for about a minute before, WHAM, "I got him" he said.
What a fight, I thought to myself. The fish would take off upstream, and then down. After about a 10-minute battle with what I knew was a nice fish, this man had landed about a four pound Rainbow Trout.
Still believing this craft was too much for me, I did not give it a try until last week—some four years after watching that man land that trout.
I have a friend that lives nearby in my now home state of Maryland. We had trout fished together a couple of times in the early Spring.
On the first trip, I arrived to pick him up, and he entered my truck with two fly rods. I knew he was a fly fisherman, but not crazy.
On this day I cleaned up, catching 18 trout on a spinner. My buddy also caught some fish on his fly rod.
But watching him, again sparked my interest. Not so much for the fish catching aspect, but more for the artistry.
I got a fly rod and a couple of flies last week. My buddy lent me a few books and videos. He also tied me about 60 flies for many uses and species of fish.
We went out this past Monday on a small lake near his home where I caught my first fish. I am hooked!
As I've gotten older my adventures out of doors is more of a love of natural surroundings, than a quest for an animal. I simply enjoy being there. I no longer get bored in a tree stand, or tire of casting with little or no success.
I can only hope my new obsession will lead me further down this road of peace outdoors, and I think it will.
As always, remember, no matter what the endeavour, safety above all else.