The Making of a Fly Fisherman

Many of you may know my oldest, Harrison, he was a pretty good golfer here at Edgewood and is currently golfing at Lewis University in Chicago; he also turned 21 this past December 18th, you may have read my column a couple weeks back about fishing with the boys? That weekend was special for both of us as I watched him turn 21 and did so with him alongside as a fellow trout fisherman; I also watched him catch trout…about 35 in his two days and could see that he had developed a technique worthy of keeping any eye on. The last week of 2011 found us back in Mizzou on our way home from some pheasant hunting in Kansas. I could tell that Harrison was craving the feel of a larger trout at the end of his fly-rod…and that is exactly what he got!

Rainbow Trout caught fly fishing (Harrison)Friday, December 30th was one of those days, one of those days that being outdoors with the ones you love is about as good as it gets; in fact, Harrison and I were fishing in Zone 2, below the dam, about mid-morning when dad had walked down from the duplex and was sitting on the bench directly behind us. As I looked up, dad was sitting there with a pleasant smile on his face and a cup of coffee in his hand; the sun was brilliant and the temperature was an awesome 55 degrees. I looked back to make sure that all was good with dad and he just nodded and said, “It would be hard to beat this day”. Little did he know that soon our good time would get a little better?

Both Harrison and I were using full sinking type 3 line and both on our 6-weight rods. We were both inside the steep stone wall…with its many colors; it is a true thing of beauty and always inspires my fishing. I had had a great morning, catching about 25 trout in the first 3 hours and was keeping an eye on Harrison to my left when I saw him set the hook and watched as the clear water boiled just inside the stone wall. I immediately stopped my fishing to see what he had on his line. The bend in his rod told me that finally he may have hooked up with the fish he was looking for. I grabbed my camera from out of the water proof pouch I carry inside my waders and started filming.

Harrison did a great job even though he was obviously excited. One of the toughest things to do is keep your calm and get the fish on the reel…and he did so quickly. We were both fishing 4X tippet and thus Harrison couldn’t ‘horse’ the fish in; he would need to let the drag of the reel do its job and be patient. I watched with pride as he did all the right things and over the next 3 to 4 minutes was able to work the fish close and slide his net under, finally controlling his first ever 20 inch trout. It was a big hen that might have gone a touch over 20 inches but it might as well have been a hole in one as judged by the wide smile on his face.Rainbow Trout caught fly fishing (Harrison & Ivan)

We snapped a few photos and for an even better touch grandpa was right there and was able to both watch and be a part of the landing…I know that this is a piece of film that Harrison will cherish many years from now. You can watch the video of Harrison landing his big trout here. If you would have asked me for a truly grand Christmas gift…I would have described a scene much like what played out on this sunny December day in Missouri. My big hope for 2012 is many more days afield to Enjoy the Great Outdoors.

NOTE: An extra note, worthy of attention; Missouri Department of Natural Resources has announced that as of March 1st there will be a ban on felt wading boots at all trout parks, including Taneycomo and other state ran streams. This is a big deal, in fact a very big deal and I will be watching with interest to see how it all goes. I don’t have any exact idea on numbers but would guess that most, certainly over half, of all trout fisherman still have felt wading boots. I own both felt and rubber and still fish about 90% of the time in felt due to the safety and stability standpoint of felt over rubber. If you don’t know…felt is supposed to be a carrier of invasive species and Missouri is in a fight to keep Didymo (rock snot) out of its waters…as is many other states. This past year a ban on felt was put in place in Vermont and Alaska. So…if you are heading to Missouri get your gear in order, good luck and many bent rods to all of you in 2012!

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