Thursday, July 24, 2014

Can You Take Me Fly Fishing?


Photo by: Nick Boehme


Eight slips away slowly as nine is brand new on him, just since early July, and I'll miss this age forever, I think.  He draws closer to an age that is much clearer in my mind from my own life's memories but he's not quite there yet.  I keep hope that childhood lasts on him.

I took him to the stream a couple of weeks ago, I had asked if he wanted to come.  Sure, I'll come, he says.  I don't know if it was on his list as a priority of fun or of not wanting to disappoint with a different answer.  There is always that with sons, I think, and it is always appreciated by dads.

He hadn't been since last year, maybe last April, and now he was putting on waders more easily.  Asking questions about the fish, a couple about the bugs and such.  The interest, it seemed, was sparking.  Standing on the banks with two other fisherman upon arrival, shooting the old "here's what I'm throwing" and, "you should try this fly", and "I know Mike from...", Dean is already down on the stream..."Dad!  Come on, let's go!"  I chuckle proudly and excuse myself.

We start with nymphs because he's done that before and I can easily put the rod in his hands with this method.  Flip it up and across...keep the rod just in front of that fly line...and now...flip it back up and across...He does this pretty well but nothing strikes.

A couple of fish come to the nets of the other fishermen.  We stomp over, we look, he is enamored.  Daylight is fading fast and I'm feeling it.  I'd sure like him to hook up.  We went to the dry fifteen or so minutes ago and I've switched patterns two or three times.  I told you I was feeling it.  Gotta get this kid on a fish.  He's nine.  He'll remember.

We need to leave soon to pick up his sister.  In fact, we maybe should have left already.  It's feeling like "it is what it is" and his interest is turning to how deep he can get in the water before his boots start to fill.  I keep at him, "Nope.  Stop.  You're gonna get soaked" (he does), and finally, "we gotta go...last cast here..."

Slurp.

"Dean?"

"Yeah?", he answers as he looks across.

"Did you see that?  Did you see that fish rise out in front of that rock?"  It was just opposite us, right up close to the far bank.

"Yup."

"Watch this", I say as I strip the line and start the false casting.  "If he takes it, get ready..."

On the second drift the kid sees the take.  Fish on.  I hand him the rod instantly and the fun begins.

Photo by: Nick Boehme


He does a lot wrong.  He reels the wrong way at times.  His hands get crossed up.  At one point he reels the fly line right up to the end of the rod when the fish isn't ready.  I am tempted to take the rod more than once but, instead, I coach.  "Keep the rod tip up.  Easy.  Easy.  Let him run a bit.  Let him run."

He listens and responds and the fish comes to net.  Three grown men all around him, smiling.  Hey, kid, what a fish.  His smile outdoes us all.  He is thrilled.

I've taken him fishing before and I'll certainly take him again but this trip was a game changer.

About four or five days later while running family errands, my wife tells me that she and my daughter are going to be busy that evening and that the boys would have to fend for themselves.  He sits in the back of the car as the girls run into the store.  He taps on the back of my right shoulder...Hey dad?...Can you take me fly fishing?

Hooked.

Photo by: Nick Boehme

16 comments:

  1. Hey Mike,

    This trip was awesome to be a part of. I just posted my version of the story on http://scottsfishtails.blogspot.com/2014/07/best-east-branch-trout-trip-yet.html . Check it out! Looking forward to getting out on the river with you again.

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  2. Great job over there on www.scottsfishtails.blogspot.com

    A pleasure to meet you and thanks for dropping by! See you out on the stream

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  3. Love this post, Mike. You have a fishing buddy for life now. I can't wait to experience this myself- only 8 years to go!

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    1. It really is something special, Chris. Lots of good memories await you and your son and lots before he steps foot on a stream!

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    1. Thank you, Steve. I appreciate you stopping by and the perspective you bring to father and son fishing over at sipping emergers!

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  5. Way to go, Mike! So important. For your son. For the future of Trout Fishing in America.

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    1. Thanks, Walt. Next up for him is some of those good old, soul felt blues!

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  6. Mike, this is a masterpiece! There is no success on the water that can match this. That picture may life in your family lore for the next hundred years... Need say any more!? Big fan here - keep up the great work. -Tom

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  7. Wow, Tom, thanks for the encouraging words. Yep, that picture is certainly going in a frame and the memories will last even longer I'm sure. Thanks for dropping by.

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  8. Way to get him out there ! I love getting the kids involved.

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    1. You said it, Tim. If we can do it in just the right amount of doses we will create fishermen for life. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. Tight lines.

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  9. I remember back to his age. My dad didn't fish but I had a couple fly fishing uncles. Them taking me fishing was the biggest hug ever. It meant they cared enough to share with me. I'm sure your son feels the same way. Great story!

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  10. I love that you described it as "the biggest hug ever"...well spoken and I certainly appreciate your feedback here. Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. Replies
    1. Jumpingtrout,

      Thank you much. It's nice to have new visitors and the comment is appreciated for sure. Wishing you tight lines and bent rods.

      Mike

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