Some of you expressed interest in following the path of someone new to fly fishing, and I am in a writing mood, so I thought I would spend some time putting my thoughts and adventures down for posterity.
Last time I posted, I had just settled on a rod/reel outfit, read a bit and watched some casting videos on youtube. I got a bit of spare time, and decided to put on my waders and hit the water to do some casting.
Self teaching isn't the easiest thing to do, and results were marginal but encouraging. I was able to make a loop and bend the line to my will, and that in and of it's self was a victory.
Folks on here encouraged me to get with somebody who knows the ropes, which is easier said than done when one works second shift and has a wife and 5 month old son. Luckily, I got in touch with a high school friend of mine named Dustin Reeves, who, though a young guy like myself, is following his dream and guides out of his own drift boat in Montana in the summer and builds custom flyrods.
Dustin was kind enough to roll out of bed Sunday morning and head down to the river with me to work on some casting. We worked on my cast, and I had a true breakthrough moment.
The first outing on my own, I had come back a little sore in the hand and shoulder, from putting a death-grip on the rod and horsing it around like it was a 20 pound piece of lumber instead of a gracefully tapered graphite flyrod.
Dustin showed me how a short, quick, efficient movement can move the line through the air in the desired shape with very little physical effort. The mental effort of both teacher and student (one very patient, the other stubborn as a mule, you guess who is who!) far surpassed the physical effort required.
In time though, I got to where I would catch my own mistakes quickly and correct as necessary. Once we had a handle on the basics, he showed me some other techniques, we practiced roll casting, a bit of basic mending, and properly stripping line in, which is much simpler to watch than it is to do, at least for this guy! Towards the end he started to show me some hauls, but time was running short and I will need a better handle on basic casting before I try that in earnest.
I'm still barely more than an embarrassment, but two hours on the water with someone who knows what they're doing was worth more than days of reading and solitary practice.
Now, for the perfect ending to the session, it is important to note that I had picked Dustin up at his house, and he had a customer for his rod building business to meet in less than an hour from when we stepped out of the water.
We got back to the truck, and quickly discovered that I had locked my keys inside! I had taken my coat off, keys in pocket, and put it in the tupperware tub that I transport my waders in. As we were heading down, I thought better of leaving the tub in the bed of the pickup, and locked it in the cab of my truck to keep it from being stolen.
Luckily Dustin's girlfriend was able to come pick him up in time to get him home for his meeting. My wife came along with the spare key and a grin a little while later. I'll never live it down.