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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 12-06-2010, 12:53 PM
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Default Re: What got you hooked?

When I was a kid (7-8), my parents use to take me to the sportsman's show in Boston. They were in the market to buy a camper, but I loved the action at the pool. They had stuff like log rolling and alligator wrestling, but what really interested me was the fly casting.
Of the 2 casters, heavyweight champion Jack Sharkey I didn't know from Adam but the other guy, Ted Williams, was a hero of every boy in New England.
I remember clearly how they would clear out everyone out beyond the far side of the Olympic sized pool out to the doors, then open the doors to the street and Mr Williams would cast out past the pool and out the doorway and into the street.
At the time, I had a fly rod and I fished with a fly rod (mostly with bait), but I couldn't do anything like that and didn't know anyone else that could.
Made a big impression
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:26 PM
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Default Re: What got you hooked?

I didn't realize you were that old Rip. I also saw Jack Sharkey ( a former pro boxer) in Miami at the sportsmen show in the 50's.

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Old 12-06-2010, 04:36 PM
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Default Re: What got you hooked?

I guess you could say I was hooked genetically two generations before. My Grandfather was an avid fisherman (not fly back then). When I was younger my Father who also enjoys fishing would take my Brother and I on fishing trips to Northern Ontario. We also had a set of Gregory Clark books (if you don't know who he is look him up, and you're lucky if you have some of his out of print books). Which I read and reread on rainy days at the cottage. Then when 'that movie' came out in 92 it provided me with my first visuals of fly fishing, that summer my Brother and I aged 10 and 12 were out on the lake attempting to false cast flies with spinning tackle. I'd still yet to get my hands on a fly rod. 16 came, (the age up here when you need a fishing license), and the lack of employment and taking summer school as I was having problems monopolised my summers, this eventually changed into summer jobs, saving for college and the typical teens urge to be anywhere your parents aren't.

Then at 25 I started dating the girl who became my wife. After dating for a week (I'd know her for three years and been shot down twice) she invited me to her Parents for Thanksgiving. Upon arriving at their house I see a big fishing lure mailbox, a Lund in the garage and various pictures of my now Father in Law and Wife hoisting huge Salmon and Trout, low and behold her Father is as addicted to fishing as anyone I've ever known. He and I bonded spring fishing for Walleye, and summer fishing for Bass while the women folk did their thing. For our first Christmas together my wife gave me a tackle bag loaded with lures. This 'green light' to reignite my fishing passion.

A year after that I started spending more time with the husband of one of my wifes College room mates. He was an avid centerpin angler and got me out on the local creeks a few times. Like the OP I lost my job and was pretty down in the dumps, I picked up a basic drift setup on a 13.5' Shimano rod and that was my escape for the 10 months I was looking for work. Still no actual fly fishing though I had a growing love for the creeks and streams around where I lived, and the trout and steelhead that inhabited them.

This summer was my Wifes 30th birthday, but after finding out we were expecting our first child I had to cancel the white water kayaking that I had planned and come up with a more fitting/laid back plan. The result was a fall trip to Vermont, and driving up to Stowe I mentioned about wanting to stop into the local fly shop. On the way back down she convinced me to, and we registered for a free course a couple of days later... at this point holding a fly rod in my hand for the first time of my life I was hooked for good. With the kid on the way money was tight but I kept my eyes peeled when we got back and picked up a used St.Croix Imperial. That was four or five weeks ago. I've yet to land a fish on it in the half dozen times I've been out, but my casting is getting better and my presentation is improving as well. It's only a matter of time, but I think I've found one of the true passions of my life.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: What got you hooked?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wjc View Post
I didn't realize you were that old Rip. I also saw Jack Sharkey ( a former pro boxer) in Miami at the sportsmen show in the 50's.
That was in '63 and '64. I'm pretty sure that that was the last shows that the two of them did together
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: What got you hooked?

My mother used to buy me those bamboo section fishing rods that cost around $1.99: 4 bamboo section, a length of line, a bobber and a few hooks. I guess I was around 7-8, and used to walk about 30 minutes to a nearby lake (not very protective parents ). I finally saved enough money for a real spinning rod when I was around 11-12, and hit the lake and another stream every chance I had. My grandfather had a copy of Charles Ritz book "The Art and Mechanics of Fly Fishing", and I read that when I was around 14 or 15. That was the type of fishing I really wanted to do, and did everything in my power to get the money together for a basic rod, reel, and line. I actually cleaned the restrooms at a radiology office my dad was co-owner of, and I was off to the races in no time at all. The TV fishing shows played a HUGE part in my life, especially the "Fishin' Hole" with Jerry Mckinnis. I watched the other shows as well, but Jerry just seemed like a really great guy.

I fished both lures and flies until about 10 years ago. We had moved to the Valley Forge area, and there were plenty of fly anglers there. I just didn't see the challenge in baitcasting any longer, although I know it can be quite challenging.

Anthony,
We lived in Princeton during the recession of the early 1990's, and there were a lot of unemployed people in that area. I noticed that they all seemed to be running or cycling, and while they were unemployed, they became incredibly fit! I stopped by a freshly stocked lake a couple months ago, and there were about 20 able-bodied men in their 40's joking around about the lake being an extension of the unemployment office. Funny, but sad....
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: What got you hooked?

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Originally Posted by FrankB2 View Post
Anthony,
We lived in Princeton during the recession of the early 1990's, and there were a lot of unemployed people in that area. I noticed that they all seemed to be running or cycling, and while they were unemployed, they became incredibly fit! I stopped by a freshly stocked lake a couple months ago, and there were about 20 able-bodied men in their 40's joking around about the lake being an extension of the unemployment office. Funny, but sad....
After I was laid off I started taking classes at the local community college, due to the fed's big push on education to get people back to work, and I've come to know a lot of people that have been laid off as well. Most of those seem to be either going to class or spending their time nipping at a bottle (not that I have any issues with that ) I'm just glad that I found a better outlet/time waster.

It is very sad, here in Berk's things haven't really started to swing on the up, and the commutes to the places that are hiring is almost laughable.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: What got you hooked?

I've got two stories; separated by about 50 years. The first one's a little weak; the second is much better.

I got my first fly rod at the age of 11. I had been bait casting and spin fishing up to that point; primarily in the local reservoir, a couple of ponds and one or two rivers; mostly for bluegills, perch, pickerel and bass. My father wasn't really into fishing, but my uncle loved it. He used to take me to LL Beans' store in South Freeport, ME and I'd dream about all the outdoor adventures that I could have if I could just get some of that gear. My uncle was a fly fisherman. At just about that time, Ted Williams, the "splendid splinter", had retired from baseball and was going around giving fly casting demonstrations. One of them was at our local A&P grocery (remember when there used to be A&P's?). I watched Ted for about a hour while my mother shopped one Saturday morning; dropping fly after fly into a paper cup at about 50 ft. That was when I started to appreciate that fact that there's a lot of art to fly fishing; you weren't just putting a line in the water.

So, I asked for a fly rod and my father bought one for me. It was a Montgomery Ward Hawthorne 7'1" solid fiberglass rod with a Pflueger Medalist reel (I still have the rod and I make a point to fish it at least once a year!).

Now, at about the same time that I got the rod and reel, I also got a fly tying set. I guess I'd probably made some comment about how cool the flies were. So, at 11 I started tying up Gray Ghosts and Royal Coachmen; whatever I could with the materials that were in the kit.

Then came the problem. My uncle died unexpectedly that year and I had no one to talk to about how to fly fish. I didn't even know how to attach the line; nothing about leaders, nothing about tippets, nothing about knots. But, I was determined to try out my new fly rod and flies. So, I sanded down the tip of the fly line and managed to push it through the eye of one of the flies that I'd tied up. I knotted it a couple of times with overhand knots and headed for the reservoir. Well, I caught exactly nothing; just as you'd expect, but not as I'd expected. I always used to catch fish, so I determined that fly fishing just wasn't the right way to fish and I hung up my rod and reel and my future as an angler. And with Junior High coming up fast....and sports...... and girls, well that was the end of fishing for me.

Fast forward 49 years. My wife comes home one day and says that her exercise partner, Nancy, is a fly fisher and that she recommended that we give it a try. I was skeptical to say the very least. I think I said something like: "fly fishing, me, you've got to be kidding - right". But, I thought about it, about 50 years ago and I decided that if Marty was psyched for it and if it was a sport that we could do together (there aren't many sports like that; at least not in my experience) then I was going to give it a try. We went shopping at LL Beans in Saucon Valley, PA, got some starter everything and a week later we were headed out with Nancy and her husband, Wayne, to go fly fishing on the Resica Falls section of the Bushkill River in Northeast PA.

Well, I got out there in my waders and just started looking around. It was gorgeous and I found out that I couldn't concentrate on fishing and think about other things at the same time. So, for me it was a "mini vacation", in the midst of all this peaceful beauty. I caught a couple of fish that day, but they got lost in the memories of the moment; standing in the sunshine, listening to the sounds of the river, seeing the wildlife in a new way (at least in a new way for me) and enjoying myself, my wife and my new friends.

That was 3 years ago; I haven't looked back since that day......... and I keep thinking about the next time that I'm going fishing.

A tale of two cities.

Pocono

Last edited by Pocono; 12-06-2010 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:30 PM
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Default Re: What got you hooked?

Excellent story, Pocono! Sanding down the line instead of using a leader.... !!!!! My early experience was a bit better, but I couldn't afford too many leaders when I was young. I mostly fished for bass with a Hula popper, and it was usually tied to 3-5 feet of remaining leader. Adding tippet wasn't something that I did back then, but tie my own leaders.

Last edited by FrankB2; 09-01-2011 at 06:36 AM.
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: What got you hooked?

What a great idea for a post ant!
I grew up tackle and bait fishing, mostly on lakes. Only caught a handful of fish. They were more famiily outings. But I remember seeing some guys occasionally fly fishing and just being mesmerized by the motion of the rod. I also noticed that they seemed to catch more fish than I or my family did.

I didn't really get started fly fishing though until I was about 28. Like a lot of other posts, I bought a cheap kit and started to read every book I could find. I am an English teacher so reading books to learn something is my forte. I spent almost two years beating waters before I ever hooked anything. The first time I caught something was in a little pond in Steamboat Springs, CO. It had just rained and I had read that that was a good time to fish dry flies. Keep in mind it had been two years so I was used to casting and not paying much attention. Fortunately the fish hit hard and I didn't even really have to set the hook. I almost fell in the water I was so surprised

I kept at that lake and caught a total of four rainbows that evening, all just above the 12 inch size. I didn't sleep that night I was so excited. From that point there was no stopping me. I knew I could do this now. The fly was a size 16 Adams. I kept it and still have it.

When I was about 34 I started fishing with a fellow teacher, Gary (gjcordray on the forum). That has done more to improve my skills than any course, book, video, or seminar. I can't recommend enough getting a fishing buddy, both for the success and the fun of it. In the last couple of years he and I have finaly begun to hook into some fish in about the 24 inch range. We've come a long way baby!

Recently a student who graduated from my high school opened a fly shop not far from my house. So I now have a friendly shop to hang out in and get tips from.

Last year, and this is the best part, my ten year old daughter caught her first fish on a fly rod, at the South Platte near deckers. We also set her up a little flytying desk next to mine in the basement. She has a real artistic patience and small fingers, so she is quickly becoming a better tyer than I.

Thanks again for the post ant.
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: What got you hooked?

My story is a little different, since I had no family members who fished at all, so I was self-taught and learned to fish using tackle & bait.

The summer I was 14 I worked on staff at a Boy Scout camp. I was fishing one of the creeks that ran into the local lake, and while throwing plugs I saw a couple of Scoutmasters fishing with fly rods. When I asked them to show me how to cast a flyrod they not only explained how to cast, but they also loaned me a fully rigged fly rod to use for the rest of the time they were staying in the camp. When they left they gave me a few extra flies they could spare. A couple of weeks later (after I had saved some money from my very small paychecks) I caught a ride into the closest town and visited the local hardware store (only place to buy fishing gear). I purchased a Garcia fiberglass rod, a Medalist reel and a level floating fly line. I used light mono for leader/tippet and eventually bought a Boy Scout fly tying kit to make some more flies to replace the ones I kept losing. That summer I caught a lot of smallmouth and sunfish with that rig.

The following year I was again working on the staff at the same Boy Scout camp, but I had the job of getting scout troops ready and taking them on a 4-day float trip down the Current River in Missouri. When I took the first group on the river, I got hooked on trout fishing, catching my first rainbow trout on an olive wooleybugger. So basically I have been fly fishing for well over 40 years; and although I started and stopped tying flies a couple of times over the years, I am definitely tying again - this time to stay!
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