Last week, a friend loaned me a 5wt fly rod. I've been practicing, and immersing myself into the addiction of waving the Fairy Wand.

I've been struggling. Wind knots, bad/sloppy technique, etc. I need practice, encouragement, and mostly, a tutor.

I was able to escape out of the house this afternoon, supposedly to go get some food for dinner. I ended up stopping at the pond in the park here in Sapulpa. Winds were light, the surface was fairly smooth, and I had a new sunfish-sized popper to try out.

I basically gave up on "distance". I just wanted to make as many "smooth" casts as I could. I also realized that since the weedline was, on average, about 10' from the shoreline, I should probably work at a diagonal, instead of throwing straight out to the weeds. This would A) Allow me to try to keep the bug somewhat parallel to the weeds, allowing for more time in the strike zone, and B) Allow me to strip the bug past the little weed points and pockets. I also realized that I need to think like one of those "Green Fish Chasers", and basically work my way down the bank, as if I was in a boat with the trolling motor down.

So, I start working in this pattern. After a few minutes, I began to get better as making "smooth" casts and presentations. I won't claim to have perfected my technique, but it is getting better. I immediately start noticing that the little 'gills were following the bug and taking swipes at it. I also realized that I did better if I just let the bug sit, instead of stripping it in a few inches at a time.

Well, after about 10 - 15 minutes, I got a successful hookup:

All right! First 'gill on a fly!

I continued my pattern, slowly working my way down the shore, making casts into the weed pockets, and stripping the bug past the weed points.

Somehow, I wasn't surprised when there was a big splash, the bug dissappears, and the fly line starts running to the left and into the weeds. Startled for a split-second, yes, but surprised, no. Luckily, I had control of the line, and immediately lifted the rod up to set the hook. About 30 seconds later, this came to my hand:

Not bad!

I continued down the bank, until I realized what was supposed to be about 20 minutes had turned into 45, and I had better head off to the store to get food for dinner.

I will definitely have to return, and practice some more!