I had the honor and all around good fun of accompanying my friend Art and his grand daughter on her first fly wrangling river adventure. A coordinated, focused, and good-humored teenager, she has all of the prerequisite characteristics that translate to fun behind the fly. We incorporate a night camping underneath unsettled skies to up the adventure quotient and find ourselves fortunate to be enjoying our freeze dried meals sans raindrops.
Once on the water, I am so distracted by the hope of Molly catching her first fish that I find it impossible to move down below them. I am, in fact, lucky enough to see her reel in her first rainbow and provide netting and snapshot services. We are off to a good start!
So, I end up hanging around soaking up the precious scene of generations passing joy. This is a special kind of teaching- one full of hope that the student will go on to find the friendships, the solitude, the beauty, the escape, and the acceptance that only comes with loving an activity that can never be mastered. Despite our algorithm driven obsessions to prepare with the right leader, the correct line, 14 sizes of the same fly, the outcome of our day on the water depends on a multitude of factors that do not respond to human influence. It’s a drag…and a hoot! And for a grandfather, it just might reason enough to sign up to sleep in a tent on a rainy night. This duality -loving the process despite your lack of ability to control the outcome is the cornerstone of resilience. And resilient people? Well, they tend to report high levels of happiness and meaningfulness. And don’t we all want that for the people we love? Truth be told, you know you’re extra special when someone with lots of years on their skeleton willingly, and gladly, sleeps on gravel studded ground under threat of thunder to find you a cooperative trout!
So, Molly, see you on the river… OR the field, the library, the mountain…wherever you find your joy. (Selfishly, your grandfather and I hope the river calls you back because we are usually hanging around there in waders anyway.)
Thanks for having me along!
Apologies for previous post malfunction. Not a great day for fishing, but the eagle scouting SUPist found her avian target…an amazing birded lunch on an island at a confluence. Dam let go 6000 cfs prior to our luncheon. We did some gear and boat walking prior to snacking to set ourselves up for a smooth departure.
But it’s every bit as fun on a fly. Fishing for bass today on the Connecticut rekindled my excitement for landing lunkers. Only difference is that I lost more fish than I remebered when I used to fish for bass years ago. Thinking back about what could be a viable explanation, it came to me. I guess spinning tackle and treble hooks yield a better landing average than a pinched barb woolly bugger. Regardless of the frustration, I am sticking with the fly rod. As maddening as it is to lose big fish… it makes the next time out on the same water that much more exciting. Bass-ackwards…but true.
While stripping streamers for trout I came upon this pickerel, my first dentally clad fish on a fly rod. Fun to land, not so much thereafter.
First off, my fly looks like it was the recipient of a Flowbee salon experience.
Secondly, the sight of these guys’ teeth just never fail to terrify me. My mind instantly flashes to a gruesome horror movie scene… “Saw 17: Pickerel Panic”. I favor the trout.
High summer water gets oxygen flowing on the Connecticut. Saw lots of fish feeding in eddies and current lines. But…still STEAMY out there.
One last drift before lugging kayaks up the horribly steep side of the Columbia covered bridge.
Trout feeding in a deep current seam went for a yellow cone head zuddler
It’s a wrap. Time for contortionist napping in the access cab of the Tacoma.
Ever tried rowing a drift boat against the wind in flatwater? You can discontinue the gym membership if you like… The upside is lots of time to spot eagles, laugh about the amazing achievement of moving at a rate of negative miles per hour, and get a prolonged glance at the underside of covered bridges.
Mt. Orne covered bridge. Lancaster, NH
The Oxbow. Lots of cool birds to look up at, including eagles, which we were lucky enough to see.