Time to tie one on…
I am blessed to be friends with a fly fishing outfitter who took me out in his boat several times to fly fish. He was incredibly patient, regardless of how many time I hooked his chest or how many times I piled all my line in an ugly heap, and despite how many times he had to gently remind me, “No mendy- no fishy.” (Mending is sort of adjusting your line in the opposite direction of the water’s current. Or something like that.)
Since this friend lives quite a ways away, I am now trying to figure out fly fishing on my own. So I thought fly fishing was kind of challenging with a knowledgeable outfitter doing all the work for me. Now that I’m doing it myself, I realize I’m not 100% sure how to tie on my own line, and what flies to use. I needed help. Badly.
A friend suggested I go see Rich at East Rosebud Fly and Tackle (805 24th Street W.), which is exactly what I did. If you’ve been reading my blogs for any length of time, you know that I have no pride, so I wasn’t above stomping right into Rich with my $100 fly rod and admitting I knew just enough about the sport to get me in trouble.
In his head, Rich may have been thinking, “Super. Just what I need today. Another beginner.” But he never let on. He may have quickly ascertained that what I lack in skill I make up for in enthusiasm and that I was eager to learn.
Rich is a super cool guy. An AC/DC sticker is displayed at the entrance as is a “No snobs allowed” sign (I knew I had come to the right place!). There is some bad-ass Iron Maiden-esque art on the wall and Rich’s hands are tattooed with various flies (of the fishing variety, naturally). He was incredibly generous with his time, rigging me up with a leader while he explained the various components of the fly fishing line- back line, leader, tippet and THEN flies. I’m pretty sure that’s right.
I want to hit the pause button for just one second and say that there is a lot to learn about fly fishing, and unfortunately that probably discourages many. Some folks may feel it is a sport that is too in-depth or expensive and so they dismiss it as a form of recreation without giving it a real chance. If you think you fall into this category, here is what you need to know. You don’t have to spend a lot on your first rod and reel (my combo set-up from Cabelas, which came with rave reviews from “experts” was $100 with a $20 off coupon). My waders (un-insulated- as if I’m going to fly fish in the cold weather anyway-pah-leeze) were $60. All you really need is the desire and a willingness to learn from the pros. And here is what is great about the pros. The ones that I have met are so passionate about the sport, and have derived so much pleasure from it, that they are happy to teach those who want to learn.
Okay, hit the ‘play’ button again. Rich gave me lots of hints on mistakes that new anglers make- this was EXACTLY the kind of stuff I needed. Not only am I beginner, but I’m a girl (yep, I just played the gender card) and I really don’t relish the idea of experienced anglers floating by me or watching me from the bank saying, “Check out the dingy blonde. Yikes.” I’m certain there will be a fair amount of that, and when I suspect that is happening I’m quick to think, “Screw ‘em if they can’t take a joke.” Still, I don’t want to behave like a COMPLETE jack-ass on the water or inadvertently muck-up someone else’s experience with my ignorance, so Rich’s hints were extremely helpful. And if I asked too pointed of a question, he would first of all answer it, and then he would say, “You just need to get catching fish.” What he was trying to say is don’t mind bend it so much that you over-think it. Just get out there, have some fun, catch some fish and the rest will fall in place.
“I don’t want you to feel like I’m giving you a sales pitch,” Rich said as he disappeared for a minute and came back with a L.L. Bean beginners guide to fly fishing. Yes! Something to read at night while I wait for the weather to warm up a bit. ”What else do I need?” I asked Rich, because he truly was not about the sales pitch, which I very much appreciated. I’m sure more than a few would have seen me as low-hanging fruit and tried to convince me to buy a bunch of expensive crap a beginner has no business owning. At my request, Rich “hooked” me up with some leader, tippet and nymphs. My last purchase was a, um, fanny pack. Me? The owner of a fanny pack? I’ve always been so anti-fanny pack because, well, they’re ugly and I don’t like the word “fanny.” But this one was cool! It had all sorts of nifty places for my new toys AND it had a shoulder strap in case I didn’t want to wear it on my, uh, fanny.
Lastly, Rich recommended a fly fishing class on April 21st. So it would appear, thanks to my outfitter friend and Rich, I am all set. All I need is enough time off of work to hit the water, and a little patience to get me through the inevitable learning curve. So regardless of whether you’re a beginner like me, or a pro like my friend, hit Rich up. He’s got everything you need and a ton of information to make this fly fishing season a memorable one.
blog comments powered by Disqus