Monday, July 13, 2009

Humble Beginnings

It wasn't until I was in my twenties before I picked up a fly rod. My soon to be brother in law and myself had decided to take a trip with "Mr. C" up to his cabin in the Poconos. Two ponds and 40 acres with a cabin I helped built. Pure therapy.

On that pond the next day after some retarded drinking the night before, Mr. C handed me a fly rod. I believe it was an orvis 7' 3 weight rod with the battenkill reel. We tied little poppers on that thing and floated them on top of the pond for sunny's.

Those 3 hours on that pond hooked me. I was/am a gadget guy. The skill of casting intrigued me. The look of the reel excited me. The technique of working the fly on top of the water stimulated me. I know, this sounds gay, but there is no other way to explain it. I was hooked. I had no idea, and I was hooked.

The equipment alone was amazing. The utility of it. The sleekness. That reel was an engineering miracle to me. First words out of my mouth on the way back were "I have to get me one of those monkeys".

It was then I embarked on a life long journey. Mr. C was responsible for this addiction. So who better than he to learn me on the subject?

That first experience was in June. I had gotten my own rod and reel by July 4th weekend. A fenwick 7 1/2 foot 4 weight rod with an Orvis Battenkill 3/4 reel. I loved that reel. Still do. And still fish with it 18 years later. The rod as well (which I have had to replace the reel seat twice).

I dicked around on little streams around SE PA and some ponds just trying to learn a servicable casting form while trying to catch whatever I could. I did most of this on my own which was fine by me. I liked being alone and it was hard for me to learn via books and video. I didn't have the money or desire to pay someone to teach me casting and Mr. C wasn't retired just yet.

By October, I was on a trip to Oak Orchard, in NY with Mr. C and his buddies. By this time Mr. C was nearing retirement and he had been on this trip for a good 6 years running. First heading up to the Salmon river, but telling me that Oak Orchard was the place now because everyone and their brother was hitting the Salmon at that time of year.

My first trip with them was incredible and really solidified my future in the sport. On that trip I met some of the best fishermen I will have ever met. Probably 200 years of experience between them (6 of them, all lifelong fishermen and all retired). I was taught on that trip how to "nymph" fish. I caught a ton of fish, and learned terms like "drag free" and "float".

I caught all sorts of fish from 11-pound brown hens to a 6 pound steelie.

I was hooked. We fished from 5am til dusk, ate, drank and I learned fly tying at night. One of those guys on that trip was Walter Mueller. He is a life long friend of Mr. C. Walter took to me and learned me the sport with the best of his ability. He is a dynamic guy and knew his stuff. He made the comment at one point that it was my first trip and I was into more fish, and the type of fish that took them years to even fathom. I liked that. A good first start.

Over the next several years I went on that trip with those guys. It was something I looked forward to every year. Walter taught me how to tie flies that first year. By the end of that first trip I was tying close to 50 flies a week. I perfected my technique on Pheasant tails and stone flies. I learned about different materials and eventually took a class from AK Best at one of the fly fishing shows.

Below is a video of Walter who developed his own special fly, Otter's Milking egg. Walters nickname was the Otter and he developed that fly on one of those trips. There is so much more to talk about regarding my experiences on those trips. I'll have them in later posts. Until then, enjoy the video.

1 comment:

BamBam said...

How the hell did I not notice this place earlier?