Had a free morning today (woo-hoo!!), so I got up before the birds and went to one of the two nearby lakes. I wanted to practice on the water because I need it...worse than I thought, I guess.
I was happy because it started to sprinkle and I figured I would be the only one there. I went to a spot where there is nothing around me except for a very slight hill at my back. Not trees or bushes. Very open to the left and right for at least 75-80 yards. In other words: no obstacles; thus, no excuses.
After reading a thread recently, I decided to try dry flies (finally). I had a couple F flies and a couple foam "bugs" that I wrapped up (I guess they look like little white moths or something).
I get to the side of the lake and there is nothing there but a heron amongst the dwindling raindrops. Perfect...for a while.
I was able to get a few casts in before the first guy showed up. He campes out way to my left as far as you can go. That's okay.
I was really trying but things were not going well. Maybe it is something I am doing wrong but the F fly did not stay "dry" after the first retrieve. It sort of turned into a streamer of sorts--but a very effective one as I was getting hits all over the place. Setting a barbless hook is harder than I thought because I would catch something and it would spit it out fairly quickly.
But that is not the point.
In a little while, another guy shows up. He sets up shop between me and the guy to the left of me. Ugh. But, still okay. Then three more guys show up and go to the right of me. Man! They was boisterous!! Forget about a nice quiet morning. Then a SIXTH guys comes walking over the crest of the hill. Fortunately (?) he must have been a friend of the first guy and he went with him.
So, now we have 75-80 yards with seven people--two of them extremely noisy and another that was anything but quiet. There was no room to really move and still have the same "openness," so I mumbled to myself and kept on keeping on.
The wind picked up and it started to get hard (for me) to cast. I looked like an idiot casting and the fly would get blown way to my left every time. I tried roll casting--really stunk at first but kept getting continually better until it was almost serviceable. I tried my hand at false casting trying to dry the fly out--it works!--but I need a lot of help because I don't have a smooth overhead motion. Good thing is that I know what is wrong--I go too far back AND too far forward--but I can't get myself to not do that on a regular basis. I was drying the fly on my shirt and recasting and recasting.
I had no intention of catching a fish because I wanted to practice getting better. I was probably even mumbling to myself. My line hit the rod on the forward cast on several occasions and I really looked like the bumbling fool I really am.
I must have been bad because two of the three loudmouths started heckling me a bit. At first, I laughed, but it was getting a little too personal. They were, to use a good Pittsburgh word, jagoffs. It went from an occasional quip to almost constant. The more these goofs yapped, the worse I got because I let them get on my nerves.
I didn't want to start anything because there were three of them, after all, and I am 52. Of course, the two mouths were also probably 50ish while the other one was probably around 30 or 35. They were rednecks in the true sense of the word and probably pounded a few down before showing up on the lake.
The worst thing that happened? I caught a trout. Nothing special. A normal smallish stocked trout. It hit on an F fly streamer,
Me being me, I unhooked the fish and tossed it back into the lake. Holy comoly! You would have thought I committed a hideous crime. The three of them were yelping at me with the oldest on being so pissed off, I thought he was going to have a stroke. "What the **** are you doing?!? That was a ******* trout! You imbecile! What are you doing throwing a ****** trout back into the ******* water?? ****, give it to me!!"
I just looked at them and said I always release what I catch unless I hurt them fatally. Then they started to get on my case about being a snooty fly fisherman who thinks his **** doesn't stink. They proceeded to call me other body parts, so I calmly reeled my line in and walked away leaving them screaming behind me. The other three guys just pretended I did not exist. Thanks, guys.
I went to the overflow below the dam and spent a little time there...alone.
Then I decided those guys had me so ticked off that I had to leave, so I went to the other lake. Things turned around there! I caught 14 bluegill--some itsy bitsy guys but I did catch three or four really large bulls. I continued with the dries for the most part but did use a little streamer Dan posted recently. I caught fish on all of them.
All in all, it turned out to be an okay day. Met some other fishermen and yakked a little. Talked to a couple who want to bring their young son fishing sometime and the father wondered about "what kind of rod" I was using because he never saw one like it before.
I left with a smile on my face in spite of the three knuckleheads I encountered a couple hours before.
Has anybody else had the, um, "experience" of strangers harping on them because (a) they were fly fishers, (b) they were not fly fishing very well, and (c) they actually threw the fish they caught back into the water?? It should not bother me but, now that I am sitting back home, it has started to irritate me again. I felt like I should have said something but it would have probably been the biggest mistake of my life to this point.