Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Once bitten...

A few years ago my wife and I were visiting her brother and family in Traverse City for a week in late July. It's really the only decent time to travel that far north and still feel comfortable in Bermuda shorts, tees, and flip-flops. So there I was sitting on the veranda with Bill after dinner smoking $8 cigars when he turns to me and asks, "Ever fly fished before?"


"Excellent. Let's go down the Boardman for couple hours."

Forty five minutes later we were pullin' on waders and boots and slathering mosquito repellent. Then he retrieves his bamboo fly rod, assembles it, turns to me and says, "You're not fishing today. You're just here to watch." Ouch! I can't say I blame him. I discovered a couple years later why. Apparently that custom made bamboo rod set him back a few hundred bucks.

We walked to the rivers edge and he showed me how to read the water. We lifted a few rocks and examined their landscape. I apparently saw nothing and leaned in for a closer look. "What are those little tube thingys?"

He explained all about the life cycle of the average mayfly, how it lives on the bottom, how it rises to emerge as a mature mayfly, and breaths air for only a day to mate and lay eggs. This evening we're using dry flies. The Hex's were still rising. We waded down stream while he showed me the best places to cast, under overhanging brush here, in a small eddy behind a rock over there. He netted a couple of browns and a rainbow and explained how delicate they are and why they should only be handled with wet hands.

As we rounded a bend into an open meadow we startled a pair of mallards and they immediately took flight into a red evening sky framed in pine trees and rolling hills behind, and me with out my camera. "Man, does it get any better than this?"


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