I started fishing with my family at a very early age. My first trip was to Lake Irvine with my dad and his father, aka “grandpa.” I fished with cheese from our sandwiches and killed it. Gradually, I moved from bait to lures. I remember my favorite lure was a Red Devil, and it worked very well for me on lakes and deep, slow rivers. However, one day while fishing on a lake near Bend, Oregon, I hooked myself in the lower back with two of those big treble hooks. That got my attention, I can tell you. I can remember on that same trip watching a guy fly fishing on the Deschutes River, near our camp. I was fascinated by his movements, his success, and the fact he wasn’t throwing big nasty treble hooks. But sad to say, I never really attempted fly fishing until decades later.
My first fly trip was on the Copper River in Alaska. I only hooked a few trout and salmon, but I saw a bunch of bears and flew in a couple of float planes which added to the overall adventure. Then while working on a contract in D.C. I took a day-long course from Orvis. There was almost too much information, knots, reading the water, fly selection, casting technique. It culminated in a practical exercise on a large pond. I worked on my cast and caught a few fish. When I returned to L.A., I took another short course and did some fishing in Utah. Then I made two fantastic float trips on the Kootenai and St. Joe rivers in North Idaho. Since we moved to North Carolina, I have made three guided trips on local trout streams in Western NC. Fishing here has been a bit different so far. I haven’t fished any big water. Casts are short, don’t try, and “River Runs Through It,” moves here unless you want to practice tying on fresh leaders and flies. Also, so far, I’ve only used nymphs, no dry flies. I haven’t quite got the whole fly selection thing down yet, so I am relying on my guide’s advice, which based on the number of fish we were catching has been very good. At this point, I’ve fished two different forks of the Broad River near Rosman and on the Mitchell River near Elkin NC. BTW, all fishing has been “catch and release,” which is fine by me. I am loving it so far and cannot wait to get back out there and annoy some more trout.