One day, I may become one of those gray-haired (almost there) and stylishly-dressed fly fisherman you see casting wonderful loops on the banks of your local river. Until then, I’ll settle for fostering those new to the sport.
One late September evening my assistance was requested at the club’s novice fly fishing class. Not quite the old hand at this fly fishing stuff and definitely not a master caster, I was to run the “hooking and landing” station during casting lessons. In exchange I would be rewarded with a sandwich lunch.
So, last Saturday I headed to Walnut Creek and in short order was deemed “The Hooking and Landing Instructor.” My task was simple. Using a remote-controlled truck, to which fly line was attached, I was to give our prospective fly fishers a taste of landing a fish. To understand that landing a fish on a fly rod is different, one has to appreciate that a fly reel is mainly there to (1) hold your line and (2) provide a bit of drag when a fish runs. To play and land a fish one has to strip line — that is pull it with your hand and let it pile up in front of you (and hopefully not trip on it).
Sure, I landed an obnoxious number of fish so far this season — 150+ brook, rainbow and brown trout — but my experience is limited to a handful of rives and streams and a single lake. So it was odd to have these class attendees look upon me a modicum respect even though my fly fishing days began barely six months ago.
But helping out with this class taught me how much I’ve learnt this far, and how much I have to learn. There is such a thing as an almost-free lunch.