Monday, July 16, 2018

Fly Fishing Fever ~ my column from Sunday's paper

I caught a bug when I was in Telluride, Colorado several years ago. It’s rarely fatal, but I’ve found it’s incurable. Professionals call it “fly fishing fever.” 
Jilda and I were surprised when our friend Wes and his wife Deidra asked us to spend the first week of July in the Mountains. But it was hotter than Satan’s sauna here in Empire, and we both feared that if we didn’t get away, we’d melt like a candle on asphalt in August. 
So, when our friend offered us free room and board for a week, we jumped at the chance. I wasn’t sure what to pack for the trip, but I put long-sleeved shirts, and blue jeans in my bag. 
Soon, we were winging our way over Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Kansas before touching down in Denver. From there we took a crop duster to Durango, Co and a shuttle picked us up at the airport and drove us the last few hours to the resort.
The mountain air was thin but much cooler. It made me feel taller. 
Our friends had several things on the agenda for the week. The next day was the 4th of July. We ate ourselves silly, watched a parade, and that evening we went to a fireworks show in the park. 
Watching the fireworks explode against a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains is a sight I will never forget. While standing there in the park, it started snowing. It was only a few flurries, but enough for me to catch flakes on my tongue. 
The next morning, Jilda, Deidra, and their girls headed to the spa while Wes and I headed for the water. He’d hired a local fly-fishing guide to take us fishing. It was cool that morning. We stood on the
water’s edge listening to the guide’s safety briefing. My breath came out in clouds. As I looked around at the water, and the mountains in the distance, I thought to myself, “I could get used to this.”
I thought I knew how to use a flyrod, but I spent the first half hour untangling my line and fetching flies from nearby bushes. 
There’s an art to casting a lure which weighs less than a sneeze. It took a while to get the hang of it, but I soon fell into the rhythm. After a few hours, I could put a fly almost anywhere I wanted in the range of my fly line. 
The fish were a little slow to come to the fly, but as I’ve said before, fly fishing is not about the fish. I got several strikes, but my timing was wrong when I tried setting the tiny hook. I learned that there’s an art to that too. 
We ate a sack lunch as we changed locations. Coming to an old farm, we parked near a pond fed by a cold mountain stream. The first cast, I caught a rainbow trout. It wasn’t a big fish, but in retrospect, I realize that’s where I caught the “fly fishing fever.” 

8 comments:

  1. I never fly fished, but one day. Maybe one day I will have to give it a try. I know many like you who love to tie and fly!
    Good column!

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  2. I go maybe once a year and still spend a good deal of time trying to pull flies out of trees or weeds. Every once in a while I catch a fish.

    Very frustrating sport, but the scenery is almost always beautiful.

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  3. My father was an avid fly fisher. He made his own lures too. In times when money was tight he turned to fishing or hunting to feed the family. The first was MUCH more popular with me.

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  4. My brother can catch fish when nobody else can. I don't know his secret but he quite lucky every time. I never fly fish but I've caught a catfish with a big purple silicone worm. I was screaming as the fish was pulling my line under the boat. I was surprised at how strong the catfish was. My brother in law had to help me to get the fish off the hook. He hit the fish with the paddle. I prefer catching rainbow trouts.
    Hugs, Julia

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  5. Sounds like a great sport to me and very relaxing too.

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  6. Sounds like such a relaxing sport but like Joey said (above), I'd have flys in the trees. haha. I would really love to try it sometime though.
    Lisa

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  7. You lead a good life!!

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  8. I don't like fishing, Tim who does hasn't even tried fly fishing

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