08-11-2005, 08:28 PM
Grumpy Old Men - by Mike Santulli
[img2="left"]http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/photos/files/4/mikesantulli_thumb.jpg[/img2]Grumpy Old Men
by Mike Santulli
Most people my age are grumpy old men. I am probably no exception. Grumpiness seems to come with age. Sometimes you can learn from a grumpy old man, if, of course, you can tolerate his grumpiness. I recently learned of a case in point.
It was a cool, cloudy, blustery day in late September, when a customer ambled in to the EVENING HATCH. He was the first customer of the day and I was eager to help so, I offered my services. He, however, had never visited the shop before and was in a mood to cruise around like a kid in a candy shop. He took his time and looked at everything. Finally, he asked for something we didn’t have and then played with a variety of fly boxes, eventually buying one. His shop tour and purchase completed, he began to talk fly fishing with me.
He was an avowed Nymph fisherman named Ed. We talked about the state of the art, stocking policies; knuckle head fly fishers and sundry topics. We were both enjoying the conversation; he apparently, because he had an attentive audience and me because I liked the company. Since we both have been fly fishing for over thirty years, we struck a resonant chord. We began to talk of the old days and share our memories.
Ed had been taught how to fly fish by an old timer that he chanced to meet on the stream one day. Over time they would see each other fairly regularly and Ed sought the old timer’s advice. Ed knew that Nymph fishing was effective but, his technique was poor and in need of wise counsel. The only problem was that the old timer was cantankerous. He would watch Ed fail in his attempts and say nothing until they were on the way home, at which point much to Ed’s exasperation, the lesson would begin.
One day, Ed and the old timer were fishing together, when they spied a Yuppie in full regalia in midstream. He was dressed to the nines, with every conceivable gadget on his vest. To make matters worse, he was stomping about the stream spooking fish. Eventually he gave up and emerged from the stream, saying that there were no fish in these waters. This statement touched a nerve in the old timer and he said that he had spooked nine fish by stomping about and any good Nymph fisherman could catch them. Well said the Yuppie, I’d wager that you couldn’t catch them and the contest was on.
[img2="right"]http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/photos/files/4/EveningShadeLogo_thumb.gif[/img2] The gist of it was as follows. The old timer would go to the spot previously occupied by the Yuppie and catch seven fish in a half hour. The wager was for ten dollars a fish. The old timer got in the water and just stood there, resting the fish, as he said. Then, after a few minutes, he said time, and began to fish. As he promised, the old timer caught seven trout in the half hour time limit. The Yuppie paid up, to the tune of seventy dollars and Ed and the old timer went off to dinner and drinks, compliments of the consternation of the Yuppie.
So that was Ed’s story of how he became a Nymph fisherman. The old timer and Ed became good friends and often fished together. One day, the old timer died and Ed went to his funeral. Ed had come to love this cantankerous old man and was sorry to lose a friend. As Ed gazed at his friend in the casket, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a Nymph and placed it in the casket; a proper fly to say good bye with and send his friend and teacher on his journey.
Article courtesy of Mike Santulli of the Evening Hatch Fly Shop
The Evening Hatch is nestled in the heart of the beautiful Pocono Mountains of N.E. Pennsylvania. We offer a warm, friendly service, willing to fulfill your every fly-fishing need. Our experienced staff is anxious to answer all of your fishing, tying, and casting questions. We're here to serve you.