Fishin Technician

HOW DID YOU START YOUR FLY FISHING CAREER?

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In the early 90's I kept a small center console in Montauk Point. We use to do a lot of bottom fishing and casting for all that swims. Got really into casting plugs and lures on the South Side of the point, rolling up and over the breakers there. (With engine off....got lucky). Anyway one day one of my baitcasters got a bird's nest and needed to be respooled. We drove into East Hampton to get some line and a meal, stopping at Harvey Bennet's "East End Tackle". It was around 1993 and he ran a Mako Flats boat at the time fly fishing and light tackle the waters around Gardiner's Island and Montauk. Fixed the reel then asked  him what this fly fishing was all about. My pals with me weren't interested but it perked my curiosity. A week later on a ride back home I stopped in and took a lesson from Harvey. Having played a lot of tennis, my initial review was pretty good. He sold me an 8wt. St. Croix rod, Martin Click and Pawl reel, line, flies and a box. 

 

A week later I'm out off Shagwong chasing Albies making a complete mess of myself. Finally they bust open not 15' from the bow, I drop a Farnsworth Darter into the froth and it's off to the races. Could I have picked a worse fish out of the gate? The clicker is zinging, I go to palm it like Mark Sosen did on TV opening two knuckles and drop the fish on his return to the boat. Same afternoon land a cocktail blue and the rest is history. Still use that 8wt. The Martin made it about six trips.....

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1955.  I was 10 years old.  I knew nothing about fly fishing other than, from reading Field & Stream mags,  it existed, one put a "fly" on, and fish ate it.  I managed to obtain one fly, a #10 mosquito dry.  I knew no one who fly fished.

 

The family took a summer vacation driving from Seattle to Yellowstone Park and we camped at Old Faithful campground.  The first evening I walked down to the nearby Firehole River.  In those days I believe it was still open to bait.  Anyway, I knew nothing about fishing rivers but found a pool.  With my spinning rod I tied the mosquito to the monofilament line and tried dapping it.  Nothing happened. Eventually I fed out slack line and the Mosquito began to float and drag with the current down out of the pool and suddenly a fish took it on the surface.  I came tight and landed the unusual fish....not because I had actually caught a fish on a fly, that was beyond exciting by itself, but because I recognized it was a GRAYLING!

 

I knew only that they existed (then) naturally in the Firehole, and were rare.  I was so excited I ran back to camp with the fish to show it to my family......who were unimpressed...and ate it that night.

 

Years later, after Grayling were declared EXTINCT in the Firehole, I read that the last confirmed report of a Grayling in the Firehole was in 1955!!!

 

Our trip was in late summer.  The Park closed (completely, then) a month later.  It is likely that my very first fly-caught fish was the last Grayling ever taken out of the Firehole River.

 

Originally, the only natural grayling in the lower 48 were in a few Michigan streams, and in the Bighole and Firehole rivers in Montana.  Now, I believe only a small natural population clings to existence in the upper Bighole.....heavily protected.

 

I have felt awful about that ever since.

Edited by Peter Patricelli

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1990-91. Was getting burned out as a jetty jock casting bucktails, rigged eels all night in coastal NJ.  A couple of local guys were playing with fly rods and it piqued my interest. Bought my first set up. I was hooked.  A year or so later I  met this guy from the next town over who was tying these incredible epoxy “fleyes”.  He was starting a club in the spring. There were about 40 or so at the first meeting. The energy in the room was contagious.  Great memories from those early years when we were learning and growing the sport. 

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By 16 I had ready every available book on fly fishing in my local library. Fancy that learning from a book not U Tube or an Internet forum. I was still a worm and what  you call a Bobber Fisher. But I could and did dream. Still do.

I lived 40 miles from nearest rivers that contained trout, Most rivers were private and out of my league cost wise. But 16 saw me start an apprenticeship and first pay packets. Remember them ,sticky down little envelopes with real cash in them. They did not need to be big as we were only paid back then $6.5 a week.

Mom got half my wage. Imagine that today. It made you feel like a man paying your way and smelling of suds oil added to the illusion.

 

It took me over a year of brutal saving to buy an Allcocks glass rod. A reel that was hideous quality wise and a bad level fly line. Flies were serious expensive and were purchased singularly from the compartmentalised trays in old world tackle shops that smelt of gun oil and wax jackets.

Journeys had to be by bus and were over two hours each way. Did not seem to bother me at the time. It took me one year to catch my first Brown Trout and been chasing them ever since.

All this started because my Dad bought me a toy fishing rod for Christmas when I was five. It ignited a passion which burns just as strong today as it did them. 

All of us  are so lucky we found our way into the sport whichever which way the journey started.

 

Oly

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In 1962 at age 9 my family went on vacation to Nova Scotia. I had spin fished before but our host there brought me to a General store in Shelbourne and my Dad bought me a fly outfit.  I was introduced to fly fishing on the Upper Clyde river.It was wet fly fishing using little Silver Doctors and other  patterns that intrigued me.  I caught a few brookies on the Clyde. After College I picked up the sport again largely due to a dear friend and mentor who re-fueled my passion. Ever since it stays in my blood and occupies my thoughts more than I am willing to disclose.

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Some great stories.  I've enjoyed them all.  How many of you are old enough to remember when quill winged wet flies were staples in fly shops and catalogues?  How many of you carried a Parmachene Belle in your fly box?  How many of you ever caught a single fish on one?  [For me, yes to #1, & #2 but no to #3.]

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bmac, I am, I started tying in 1966, but they were never my favorite fly type. They're a beautiful style when tied properly, but those wings tend to come apart too easily IMO and lose that nice appearance. Anyone who ties should try them, because it's a technique that can be useful. I tied many of the popular patterns, including Parmachene Belle, Red Ibis, Yellow Sally, and White Miller's, using duck & goose wing quill sections, but after fishing them, started tying variants using hairs and softer hackle fibers instead of the quill sections. They caught more fish and didn't look as ratty after several fish. 

Edited by tidewaterfly

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Some old guy gave me a Woolworths department store selection of all the old standby's 100 years ago. The only knot that I knew at that time was an overhand / bad knot. I did not even know at that time to put spit on it.

 

FT

Edited by Fishin Technician

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I have always been obsessed with fishing. Grew up going to the beach in Delaware in a camper every summer weekend. Always out on the boat with my parents. If we weren’t on the boat I was on the dock catching catfish, carp, perch, whatever. 

 

Hung around the docks in lewes when I got older. Would have had a job as a mate when I turned 18 but I couldn’t make it. Got wrapped up in drugs for a while. Bad. Got sober. Started fishing again. 

 

Met a girl a a few years later and her dad has fly fished earlier in life. Our first Christmas he got me an Orvis Clearwater set up. I had always been interested in fly fishing but never really tried it. Had a cabelas rod when I was young and it trout fished with meal worms with. Ha 

 

Got bit by the obsession hard. Moved to Oregon two years ago. Partly to get out of the northeast. Partly because of all the fly fishing opportunities. 

 

Gonna marry that girl on the banks of the Metolius in june. And if she ever complains about me fly fishing I just blame it on her dad. 

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when i was 4 or 5 (lets just say nixon was president) my grandfather took me fishing on the housatonic river near a house they had in sharon, ct.  he only fly fished - but i didn’t know that then.  i thought that was “fishing” until we went ice fishing that winter, and then surf casting on cape cod the following summer, and then tuna fishing...

 

i have been known to blame my indescribable desire (need?) to be outdoors (including going fishing) on a “genetic dissorder” i believe i inherited from this grandfather.

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8 years ago my wife and I moved back to my hometown; then I started fishing and really trying to learn how to fish. About 2 years later my younger brother moved back to town. My brother and I are oil and water, but fishing is our common ground. We started talking about how much fun it would be to catch a king mackeral on the fly.

Then we started reading and buying fly fishing stuff and learning and bonding. We turned our mackeral conversation into large mouth bass and pan fish. 

We're still oil and water, but trying to learn how to fish on the fly has helped our relationship.

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started fly fishing for bream and baas in late 60s.  Caught my first saltwater fish on fly in the surf in Kitty Hawk during a bluefish blitz in 78 or 79.  It has been down hill ever since 

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College in Western NC...First time away from salt water, some buddies turned me on to trout fishing with corn, spinners, and 'power bait' . That lasted about 1 season, on a whim we started fishing with some old eagle claw pack rods-caught 10x the trout on nymphs and wet flies  ( bead headed caddis were a favorite)... Before I knew it I had traded my medalists and eagle claw gear for Islander, Sage, and Thomas & Thomas lol.

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Reading this thread (and maybe not too many others?) At least I'm compelled to state this is the best thread ever on Sol.

Seems for most of us fly fisherman, there is the facet of "in that moment"  that we share within this most spiritual activity -  Maybe we only share this amongst ourselves.  I know the places I go while throwing a fly take me so much further away than just a river, or catch a fish. I am "haunted by waters.".

 

  There is one post in particular i read here that could have been written by myself, almost verbatim. Although I suspect this person may have taken their own journey some decades later, long after I. The fisherman literally cast to the same beats i fished upon when I was a young boy, all while learning about the same fish with spots. It's really quite fascinating.

Edited by phishallways

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