The Fisherman and the Fly Pole

I bought a fishing license when I got to Bozeman, MT. I dunno why exactly apart from just wanting to learn to fly fish and feeling like I’d be here long enough to try. I’m going to Alaska, and it feels like it would be a sin to not fish there. I’ve fished before, but really only bait fished or spinner fished. I have plenty of stories about that, but the point is I am clueless when it comes to fly fishing.

Becca is a photographer and has a photo shoot she’s doing with some models and fly fishing. She offers to take me a long and let’s me borrow her pole….”Dwayne! it’s a fly rod!” I mean, her fly rod and gives me kinda of the run down as I struggle even putting it together and threading the eyes. My family would be so embarrassed. “You are not a fisherman, you are an angler now!” she says.

practicing_fly_fishing_on_flathead_river

I don’t feel completely incompetent, I at least know how to tie a hook onto the line but just in case, I save myself the embarrassment of doing it wrong and walk to the river. “Don’t worry about tangling the line or anything.” she says, wishes me luck, and goes to work.

I love to learn. It’s one thing I like about myself. I like to try to figure out things on my on. To work out the clumsy muscles as I wave the pole…”ROD!!!”…back and forth. I’ve seen plenty of people do it. It looks so graceful so I try to tap into those memories and mimic them. I like learning this way. It’s how I learned to roll a kayak at first. I learned to get comfortable with the equipment, and then when I didn’t feel so clumsy and could roll up I had a dear friend of mine help me clean up my technique. I like having time to process things with out the fear of doing something someone making fun of my incompetence. You see, I get embarrassed easily and if I’m embarrassed I don’t learn as well.

working_on_my_cast

I tie on a fly that I think looks the delicious, at lease I’d think so if I were a fish. I cast the line the best I can walking up the stream and letting it drift down. I work on swinging the pole…”Dwayne!”…fly rod back and forth to cast the line. I like this already. I try to make the fly land up above the eddy and drift by it. That seems to make sense. That’s where I’d throw a baited hook.

I fish for about an hour. I know I’m not going to catch anything. I’d sure like to catch something. Wouldn’t that be a cool first time story. I’m talking to myself. That’s normal. I’m not doing too bad from the stand point of: I’ve only caught 2 rocks and a few branches.

Golden hour is fading. “If I catch something the fish is going to really have to hook itself.” I say and cast the line. Jerk. “WHAT?! I’ve got one!” I’m as giddy as a kid catching their first brim. I have no idea how to reel it in. I’m clumsily pulling line with my left hand. It tangles around my legs yet somehow in the most awkward way, I get the fish into my hands, and clamor to the bank. It’s a rainbow! I unhook him and after some admiration, and pride building I release him making sure to get a picture for proof. They are not going to believe this.

first_rainbow_trout_on_gallatin_river

I walk back to my spot. It’s my spot now. There’s no way I’ll catch another but I try again. My spirits are high and somehow in just a few casts I have one! I maintain my composure a little better this time. I reel it in. I’m not sure you’re supposed to do that but at least I don’t have 9ft of line around my legs. It’s another rainbow, and the fly is deep in it’s throat. I pull out the fly, but the fish doesn’t seem to be doing very well.

releasing_my_first_trout

I release it near the bank, and resume fishing. After about 20 more minutes I decide to call it a day. I walk back to the bank and find the fish belly up under water. It’s barely alive so I decide it’s best to keep it. I really had no idea what to do with it. There’s more to the story, but I’ll save some face and not tell you that I had no idea how to kill the fish and in trying to do so I embarrassingly dropped it. I always just put them in the krill, and now that I think about it feel a little bad for that. Yeah, point is I caught my first fish on a fly pole!…”Fly ROD!” I mean. One day, I’ll get it right. What a great day, we even had trout for dinner!

I went back to my spot to go fishing again the next day with my very own fly rod. It’s not an expensive one but it will works. I caught my third rainbow on a mayfly! I’m thinking I’m almost an angler now.

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