Sunday, July 31, 2011

A view from Gin Clear's better half...

-- A family adventure --
For years, we have vacationed in a quiet, Maine, mountain town. The agenda was always the same--a canoe trip on the Androscoggin, climbing a White Mountain 4,000 footer, fishing mountain lakes and streams and an evening of laser tag, provided the family with a sense of security and relaxation.  Our son, Matt, was about to enter his senior year of high school, and we wanted one spectacular family vacation, choosing Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  Colorado offered some of the country's finest fly-fishing opportunities.

-- Bait Chucker --
I grew up a bait chucker, fishing for perch in a 16 foot Lyman on Lake Erie.  For four years, I lived on a trout stream in Meshoppen, PA and would take my spinning rod to the water, catching trout and suckers. I put the rod away after an unexpected encounter with a copperhead.

On one of our early vacations in Maine, I decided to bring my spinning rod and show my rambunctious son the joy of fishing.  After the first bluegill, my son was hooked.  Fishing replaced dinosaurs as his universe.
-- One of his first fish --

When Matt was in grade school, we had a deal -- get the homework done and we'll go fishing after dinner.  The little pond down the street was full of bass and it became routine. Over the years, Matt has become an accomplished bass fisherman.  Sometimes, I would join him. Dog leash in one hand and fishing rod in the other.
-- Another 3 Bass Night --

-- First Brownie on the Fly --

I don't know how Matt became aware of the sport of fly fishing, but one day he asked me to take him to Wal-Mart to buy a $60 fly fishing rod and reel combo.  He practiced casting in the front yard and soon started catching bass on the fly.  For Christmas, he was bound and determined to buy the same fly rod/reel combo for his dad and walked over fifty dogs to earn the money.  Soon, father and son were taking float trips and weekend excursions throughout New England, fishing for rainbow, brooks and browns.
-- Brookie in the White Mountains, NH --

When you enjoy something, you have to share it with the ones you love and that is how I learned to fly fish.  Matt was my instructor. He had such skill and made the sport look effortless and elegant.  Matt could easily have been the casting double for the movie, "A River Runs Through It." As a child, he didn't always have the patience to stay with me and correct my flaws, but would go off to fish on his own.  As soon as I got a wind knot or tangled in a tree, he was gone. I accompanied my guys on several trips and never landed a fish.  Matt was frustrated with me, but never stopped asking me to go.

By the time we traveled to Colorado, Matt was a young man. Late one afternoon, fishing Arapaho Creek, Matt set his rod down and came over to sit near me.  He had caught his fish for the day and wanted to give me a few words of encouragement.  As usual, I hadn't caught anything.  He suggested a Goddard caddis and roll casting into the side of a pool.
-- Look at the smile on Matt's Face --

"Fish on!," I screamed.  Matt ran for the net and waded into the water to make sure the fish didn't get away.  It was nice sized rainbow.  My first trout on a fly.  I don't know who had the bigger smile, me or Matt.