November 13th, 2000

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .

I Took Your Advice

By Michael Gray, Farmington, AR

I happened on Fly Anglers OnLine one morning at work. I read with interest all of the tips to beginner flyfishers. I went home that afternoon and hunted up an old flyrod that I had bought from Walmart several years ago. It was a cheap thing, but I thought it to be a better outfit than I was a trout fisher, so decided to take your advice and give it a try.

I replaced the flyline and leader to match my rod, as FAOL instructed. I also purchased a set of stocking foot waders, wading boots, a vest, and the all-important hat. I purchased many flies . . . all of which were mentioned as good choices in the Top 10 recommendations in Fly Fishing 101. I loaded up my travel trailer and was set for a relaxing fall weekend of fishing below a nearby dam where the state game & fish commission regularly stocks rainbows, browns and cutthroats. Here's how my first day went:

Imagine a crisp fall morning . . . a heavy frost on the grass outside the canopy of pine trees that surrounds my campsite. The sun is barely up, but there is a clear blue sky and no trace of clouds as I head out the door. Now place yourself in my shoes (boots) . . . in the middle of the stream . . . water gently rushing around you, mid-thigh high. Insulated waterproof waders and multiple layers of clothing keep you warm. The wind is cold against your hands, face, ears and neck, but warm rays of sun cut through the air to provide occasional warmth. The fly rod begins slowly then quickly snaps backward, pauses, then quickly whips forward . . . the quiet of the morning is shattered by the gentle "whoooosh" of the line and fly zinging past you and coming to rest at the intended spot . . . a perfect cast!

Moments later the water boils and the tan and white nymph that has been floating just below the surface disappears . . . the strike indicator submerges . . . the line zips tight . . . the fish is on. It was a small fish, but he gave a valiant fight. After bringing in the trout, with the beautiful pink stripe running down the soft gray side and the colorful spots on it's back and stomach, the fish is carefully released to be caught again another day.

Then feeling proud of the accomplishment of catching the trout, (and feeling equally proud of releasing the trout) you turn to head back for the shallow bank. The wind gently pushes you in one direction as the current of the stream pulls the lower portion of your body in the opposite direction . . . all the while you steadily move toward the bank.

Then you notice the felt sole of your boot and the moss covered rocks generate almost no friction. Your heart pounds quickly . . . blood rushes thru the body as you realize that all- important balance is lost . . . feet slip . . . body falls . . .cold clear water gushes over the top of the chest waders. As you pick yourself up you notice the feeling of cold water running down your back, past your waist and into the seat area. The downward path of the water is slowed, but continues ever so persistently down the leg to reach it's final destination in the boot.

As you check the condition of your rod, you notice several nearby faces . . . STARING . . . with looks of shock, disbelief, regret and even embarrassment. A few onlookers politely place their hands over their mouths to conceal their laughter. You can only pick yourself up, head for the truck and be thankful that the trailer is warm and nearby.

But other than the fall, you had a great time.

(By the way . . . I've been in the river 3 consecutive weekends since, and have experienced no more tumbles.) ~ Michael Gray


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