One of my favorite parts of fly fishing or fishing in general is that it's something anyone can do. As a certified casting instructor, I run into many people who balance precipitously on the fence, not knowing whether to try fly fishing or if they'll just be made to look the fool. To any novices in the audience, I have a bit of a secret - we were all there once. Paraphrasing one of my favorite quotes on the subject, we all fall in the river sometimes. We all catch trees on our backcast occasionally, and we all cuss ourselves from time to time, but the challenge makes the victory that much sweeter. Helping someone gain the skills necessary to be a successful fly fisher is one of life's greatest joys to me. So, when I convinced my sisters to go fishing with me, it was a great day!
First up was my middle sister, home from college and eager to get out of the house for a bit. We invited a couple other people to join us and received incredulous looks. Nonbelievers. I just looked at my sister and shrugged. Hey, more for us.
I told the story of the past couple days and she was looking forward to getting to see some of these fish up close and personal. It didn't take long. She had brought a spinning rod as backup but I encouraged her to try out the fly rod - in the close confines of the river a roll cast was all that was needed and she quickly figured it out. Was it the most beautiful thing in the world? No, but it was what I call a fishing cast. As long as the bug gets in front of the fish and the fish eats it, it doesn't really matter to me how it gets there. And she got it there. After a couple missed rises from lack of experience in knowing what to look for I could see that she was getting serious. I spotted a small pod of perhaps 5 or 6 carp hanging in the shade near the bank, and we snuck in within range.The fish were moving in and out of the small patches of light filtering through the canopy and all I could pick out were golden glimmers of scale and orange tails. I gently coached her on where she needed to put the fly to get a good drift and she did a great job. A solid head rolling rise and she came tight to her first carp on the fly! There was a moment of chaos as she and the fish tried to figure out what was going on and how to best deal with this new situation, but soon the fish was to hand. She was all smiles as we watched it swim away.
Heading further on, I saw the tell-tale wake of a carp making headway against the current. We quickly and quietly made our way closer, locked on target like bird dogs on a covey.
Closer and closer we got, and once in range she made a couple great casts but the carp was head down and oblivious to anything else. Scanning the water while she focused on the first fish, I saw another pod working just upstream and directed our attention to them. Two casts later she was fast to another river carp, trying to turn it's head with side pressure. The fish wrapped around an underwater obstruction and popped the tippet sending the suddenly fly-less leader flying back directly in my face. Nothing like a little excitement to spice up the day eh?
She went on to land 4 carp to my 5 and we had a great time before it started getting hot and it was time to go. One of the most important things to know about taking a new person along fishing or any other activity is when to call it quits. If you leave the water with them wanting more then you are likely to have a fishing buddy in the future!
Next up was my youngest sister. After hearing the fish adventures of the day she was dying to get out on the water so after supper we headed down. After I showed her how to thread a mulberry onto a small circle hook and then gently flip it to the fish, she was quick to hook up on her first sight-cast golden bone.
The next morning found me back on the road to Texas, to Corpus Christi via Dallas.
And on to the next spot.