Howdy Fly Fishing Entusiasts,
Yesterday was my first full day of fly fishing. For the past couple of months I have been researching equipment, reading forums and books, going to Orvis in Cherry Creek (nice, helpful staff there) and Bass Pro Shop (nice, helpful staff there as well), and generally getting myself prepared to start fly fishing. I may have gone too crazy with fly fishing preparation, but that is how I decided to go about it. I realized early on that fly fishing CAN BE (but doesn't have to be) quite complicated and intricate on details. There are so many aspects of this activity that a successful fly fisher needs to know. I have at times become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of info on casting, flies, trout behavior, equipment, etc. I have taken free classes at Orvis (those guys were really friendly and helpful, and I have since purchased an Orvis rod and reel). My wife and I also took a TU class, which gave a good intro for me. I have realized that I don't need to learn everything right away, since that is impossible anyway and I'd be wasting precious fishing time reading books about fly fishing.
To boost my confidence and on stream experience and knowledge I decided to hire a guide for the day (which is a decision I happily would make again). I checked out web sites and was kinda blow away by the cost of hiring a guide. I did run across one that was in my budget (Ken's Angler's). I emailed them and set up the trip. Ken Robak is the owner and was the one who guided me. Very nice and gregarious guy.
We first planned to go to Deckers but the flows were apparently way too high to fish with any success (and could be dangerous). Ken was able to access a private section of water near the town of Jefferson, so we were all by ourselves on 4 miles of stream. No extra rod fees either. The weather was perfect (except for the mosquitos). Ken was very helpful in teaching my different types of casts, educating me about where fish should be on the stream, how to nymph and use streamers, and other things that you'd hope for as a newbie. He even cooked me grilled chicken for lunch on his portable grill!!! He's a good cook, so that was a nice bonus.
I caught three 10-12 inch rainbows, and Ken was able to take a shot of me with the last one (I will try to upload the image, but this is my first try so we'll see how it goes). It was so exciting to see fish jump out of the water and to acutally hook a few of them as well. The second one I caught I unfortunately let slip out of my hands, so Ken couldn't take the pic.
The first one was in a bad spot for me to get it, so Ken got in the water and unhooked it and let it go. Luckily the 3rd one was the charm, because I was able to successfully handle the fish to get the pic (those fish are darn slippery and hard to handle). Next time I'll make sure not to cover the entire fish with my hands! I caught all these fish before lunch, and unfortuantely we didn't catch any in the afternoon. But Ken worked very hard trying to find the fish. It seemed like they were being picky and weren't as hungry later in the day. I did have the opportunity to catch more, I didn't pull up on my rod quick enough to set the hook. I also messed up on some casts, which scared some fish away. I'll slowly learn how to do these things I guess. All with practice and patience!
Oh, Ken also offered to stay on the water as late as I wanted, but I asked that we stop at 6p since I was tired (I guess I use muscles that I normally don't use as much when fishing). Ken also offered me follow up time with him for free when I need some pointers/touch up on stuff later in the summer. Ken said that he guides because he loves to fish and teach and not to make a living, which I believe (he is retired and I guess doesn't need much extra cash). Those who need to make a living on guiding probably couldn't afford the charge what he was charging ($125 special rate, normally $150 for a full day). I am grateful that he very affordable, since now I can go buy more equipment!
Thanks to Ken I now feel comfortable and knowledgeable enough to be on the water by myself. And I caught my first fish while fly fishing. I can tell that I'm gonna need some time to unlearn my bad habits from spin casting as a kid, but I hope persistence will pay off (I break my wrist too often and sometimes go way too far on my backcast.).
I really enjoy this forum and I look forward to contributing in the future!