I have a story to share with you. I have been an avid fisherman
since age 5, I'm now 45. I grew up in Iowa, fishing the Missouri,
Big Sioux and Little Sioux Rivers. There were also too many farm
ponds and small lakes to count. I had a fly rod as a youth, but
never took much of an interest in it. After high school, I joined
the Navy and saw the world. I continued to fish through the years,
but never picked up a fly rod. I am now "retired" from the Navy and
living in Newport News, Va.
For my 45th birthday, my wife bought me a fly tying kit. I wanted
to give it a try and see if I would enjoy it as much as I thought I
would. I had bought a few books prior to the kit, and I had cruised
FAOL a few times so I would know where to start. I have been through
the Beginning Fly Tying tutorial on FAOL. I started with lesson one
and moved forward from there. The first flies looked like a science
project gone bad, but in time they actually started looking like the
pictures! I have tied a few of the intermediate patterns and a few
from the books. I am really starting to get the hang of it.
Well, the real story happen a week ago on Father's Day. I finally
worked up the courage to hit one of our local lakes to see if any of
the flies I had tied would catch fish. I decided to start with
Bluegills. If I could entice a few 'gills' into taking what I was
offering, I would be encouraged to pursue fly fishing and tying still
further. Father's Day was a warm, sunny day. I got to the lake
around 3PM. I was using a 6.5 foot 4wt rod with a 2lb leader. I
tried a few different patterns, but nothing was happening. I notice
that there some Bluegills under the dock I was standing on and sent
Hare's Ear Nymph up under there. It took a bit of a side arm cast,
but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. All of a sudden I was
catching one fish after another. There were a few kids on the dock
with their dad, and I shared the other Hare's Ear Nymphs I had with
them. They had spin casting outfits, but were able to drop the fly
straight down and catch fish. The kids and their dad thought it was
pretty neat that I tied the flies they were using.
I guess it was the 4th Bluegill I caught that dove for deeper water
as soon as he was hooked. I didn't realize it at the time, but there
were some nice sized Bass under that dock. A three pounder decided
to make a dinner of my Bluegill. The Bluegill came off the hook, but
the Bass didn't. He gave me the fight of my life on that little fly
rod. After about a five minute fight, he came to the surface and I
walked him to the shore. (He would have easily broke the leader
lifting him up on the dock.) The kids all got to see him up close
and then we released him.
When it was time to leave, the children and their father thanked
me. I let them keep the nymph's for their next trip to the lake. I
can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Thank you
for the tutorials. You make the art of fly tying learnable for this
old salt. I look forward to learning new patterns and coming up with
some of my own. My next trip to the lake will see the use of some
cat's eyes, woolly buggers and muddlers. I am eye-balling a heavier
rig to play with the Bass, but for now the light rig will do. After
some more actual casting/fishing experience, I will try my hand at
some of Virginia's trout waters. I will let you know what happens.
Once again, thank you for the time you spent creating the
tutorials. Thank all of you for FAOL.
Newport News, Va.
Publisher's Note: Yes, I wrote Tregg and let me know
Al Campbell had passed on. He kindly gave me permission to
use his letter to Al here. Look for more from Tregg in the