The North American Fly Fishing Forum

Go Back   The North American Fly Fishing Forum > Blogs > Hardyreels

Rate this Entry

We Don't Get This Way Overnight; Part Two

Posted 08-18-2011 at 12:39 PM by Hardyreels
Updated 01-06-2012 at 10:10 PM by Hardyreels

Part Two;

At nearly a dead run I headed back to the car to get my fly rod, the moment of truth was soon to be at hand. There were definitely fish here! As fast as I could I assembled the two piece rod and fastened one of those big fat creations of mine to the end of my leader. Quickly I made my way back down the path through the little meadow to the water.

Sure enough they were still there and God, they both had a fish on! I waded in downstream of the woman. Thinking back, I was probably a bit too close but that was a lesson still to be learned. I was now ready to demonstrate to these old farts what an athletic young man having good coordination could do with a fly rod! I began ripping line from the spool and pumping the rod back and forth as I had taught myself to do over my years of failed practice at fly casting. I was pleased that tonight things were going well, I hadn’t cracked the whip yet and on the forward cast could see that my fly was still attached. After a little effort I had enough line in the air and I felt that my competition should be duly impressed, it was time to “lay it out there”. With one final powerful thrust I made my move, poetry in motion, youth, strength, and hope for the future riding on this cast…………………. Oh No, no, splat! What the……….. How could that? The 6 and 2/3 foot Ike Walton had come apart at the joint! My tip section flew about ten feet out then landed in the calm water with a resounding splat! Oh My God! Why, how, and why now?

I could feel the heat rising behind my ears, could feel the ears and my whole face turning red. You know the feeling, like getting called on the carpet for something you’ve done wrong. I reeled, and reeled as fast as I could. I could feel them looking at me. The only thing I could think of was to get out of there and to do it as fast as I could. At least the fly snagged the tip top so that I could crank in my displaced rod tip. Stumbling and splashing I headed for the shore. Thank God I didn’t fall down to further the show and the shame. Sweating and cursing under my breath I made for my car. So went the “Best day I ever had fishing”.

What would make this the best day I ever had fishing? Had I not had the traumatic failure complete with an audience I may have disregarded the old man of the morning. Now after my evening show his advice was ringing in my ears. On my way home that night I drove 40 miles out of my way to stop at Barto’s Bait and Tackle Shop on Rt. 44. It was after 9:30 at night when I got there but the shop was in a converted one car garage attached to Mr. Barto’s home. I rang his door bell and when he answered I told him about the man who had referred me to him. Of course he knew the old man and was retired himself and doing his little business just to keep busy at something. He lit up his shop and had me come in. He told me that if I would come back the next day or whenever it was convenient for me he would have an 8’ 6wt. Fenwick Glass rod with an Olympic fly reel and a Cortland 333 DT line ready for me along with some tapered leaders and a dozen good flies. He gave me the price so that I could bring the correct amount and sent me on my way home.

I went home and there in my den where I kept all of my sporting paraphernalia I found myself paging thru an Outdoor Life magazine. It was there that I found the offer to join the Outdoor Life Book Club. I took advantage of the introductory offer and choose as one of my first books, ‘Fly Fishing by Tom McNally’. This was to be one of many books on fishing but none were to be as valuable as McNally. I spent the remainder of the year studying and practicing the casts that McNally claimed I could master.
I found a quite pool on a nearby water where there was nothing to interfere with my back cast and I praticed, I cast for hours on end day after day. I learned the Shepard’s Hook, (right & left) The Steeple cast, for that time when a roll cast just won’t do or when you just want to show off. I learned to single and double haul and most importantly I didn’t worry about catching fish, I concentrated on learning. Open loops & tight loops, drop casts and bow & arrow casting were all part of the process. Next I graduated to current, line mending and presenting a nymph (in theory at least) I couldn’t get enough of it.

When I finally did venture out with intent of catching a Trout it was mid August. I did just what I intended to, I caught trout, three of them and I had planned on catching each of them by observing them prior to casting. I didn’t even think of keeping one of them because I believed that I could catch as many as I wanted given the presence of fish.

So it went, a transition, a sort of birth, all because of that one day so long ago. In the years that have passed since my chance meeting with the Old Man of The Morning I have fished from the rocky rivers and streams of Newfoundland to my present home in Alaska. I have watched more birds and photographed more wildflowers than I can mention and I do remember the names of most. I have experienced things that perhaps my unknown mentor had never dreamed of but not a year goes by that I don’t find someone to tell this story to. It’s worth telling because we all have the chance to be that Old Man or Woman. We may find ourselves in a position to shape the sporting life of a young person when we least expect it. It is my sincere hope to inspire any and all of my readers to seek to learn as much about your passion and the natural world in which you pursue it as is possible. I’m still learning and I always stop to chat with any old anglers I find sitting by a river.

Some Day we could all be the Old Man sitting on the log. If we are true to our purpose we too may be remembered as I have remembered The Old Man of the Morning & My Best Day Fishing to you.

Thank You Bob, he told me I could call him Bob when I addressed him as sir.
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 1363 Comments 15 Email Blog Entry
« Prev     Main     Next »
Total Comments 15


  1. Old Comment
    fyshstykr's Avatar
    Thank You Ard.
    Posted 08-18-2011 at 02:09 PM by fyshstykr fyshstykr is online now
  2. Old Comment
    milt spawn's Avatar
    As Paul Harvey used to say, "and now you know... the rest of the story." Thanx Ard! milt.
    Posted 08-18-2011 at 08:54 PM by milt spawn milt spawn is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Vans's Avatar
    lol, great stuff Ard. Well done.
    Posted 08-19-2011 at 01:45 AM by Vans Vans is offline
  4. Old Comment
    mcnerney's Avatar
    Great story as always!

    Posted 08-22-2011 at 04:15 PM by mcnerney mcnerney is offline
  5. Old Comment
    branjg's Avatar
    Thanks Ard, that was a great story!
    Posted 09-01-2011 at 05:06 PM by branjg branjg is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Since seeing some of your work on speypages, then coming here and reading your blog, I must say you are a great storyteller and great photographer (I guess it helps to live in such beautiful country). I, for one, would love to see you compile your stories into a book, complete with photos. They are the type of stories all fly fishermen would love to read, and the type of stories kids should read. If you do decide to compile your stories into a book, let us know; I'll buy several to give to some of the kids I work with. Thanks for posting; keep up the good work.
    Posted 11-07-2011 at 08:58 AM by gunner gunner is offline
  7. Old Comment
    wannafish's Avatar
    Very enjoyable to read Ard! I second the book idea; heck, you've probably already got most of it written
    Posted 12-11-2011 at 01:44 PM by wannafish wannafish is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Hardyreels's Avatar
    Thanks fellas,

    I keep writing and I hope that I can one day tell the story of how a guy from humble roots ended up in some of the most beautiful places on this continent. I have been on one giant adventure since 1981 and I am hoping that it ain't over yet When my story is published and available I promise not to disappoint you.

    Posted 12-27-2011 at 10:52 AM by Hardyreels Hardyreels is offline
  9. Old Comment
    theboz's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing a great story Ard. Funny how those little things influence are lives.
    Posted 02-09-2012 at 10:27 PM by theboz theboz is offline
  10. Old Comment
    Thanks Ard great story.

    Posted 05-23-2013 at 06:45 PM by oarfish oarfish is offline
  11. Old Comment
    calftail's Avatar
    You kept me glued to the story...just like some other really good Outdoor Writers do. :-)
    Posted 10-11-2013 at 01:17 AM by calftail calftail is offline
  12. Old Comment
    Ard, that was just fantatic!
    Posted 05-10-2016 at 02:24 PM by silver creek silver creek is online now
  13. Old Comment
    Hardyreels's Avatar
    Thank you Henry, I've never forgotten the day or all of the events of that day. As I write this I can still see the wildflowers that were growing around the old mans log perch. It's been 38 years since I have fished that stretch of Little Pine Creek, funny how the day made such a difference.

    In the years since I've logged many thousands of miles away and fished so many places that I don't remember the names of some creeks but I remember that one. I miss dry fly fishing, I actually had gotten pretty good at it while still honing the streamer skills that I use so often. Here in Alaska I very seldom have the chance to fish during a hatch and when they do occur I generally keep swinging a streamer through the area.

    I was surprised to find your comment here and do appreciate that you took the time to read the story.

    Posted 05-15-2016 at 01:18 PM by Hardyreels Hardyreels is offline
  14. Old Comment
    brook rookie's Avatar
    Your story is inspirational. Reading this, and many of your posts, and seeing your photos, makes me want to learn and fish and learn some more and fish more. Though I am headed down "Sunset Lane" I can think of no other way I want to spend my time now. I touched a fishing rod for the first time in my life about three years ago. I can feel my interest growing to the point that I know fly fishing is going to be a major factor in my life, for the rest of my life. Thank you.
    Posted 08-20-2016 at 11:25 AM by brook rookie brook rookie is offline
  15. Old Comment
    Hardyreels's Avatar
    I try to write things that may be helpful to others. Often the writing is a story not a 'how to' lesson but always there is a lesson in the story. I'm pleased that you liked this one enough to leave a comment for me.

    Posted 08-21-2016 at 01:00 PM by Hardyreels Hardyreels is offline

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:03 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
2005-2015 The North American Fly Fishing Forum. All rights reserved.