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handifly 03-08-2013 10:13 PM

The Fishing Contest
The Fishing Contest

The beach at the lake was crowded with kids and their parent helpers. Everyone had a bucket so catches could be officially counted. Of the dozens of eager entrants, only one had a fly rod: my daughter Alice.

We stationed ourselves at her lucky spot to the left of a willow tree. The blue gills always took her poppers there. Her trusty yellow lucky fly rod, a 7 ft 4 wt custom rod made from a Loomis blank, was strung up. Alice chose the “prettiest” popper. And we were ready.

I had explained to Alice a bit about fishing etiquette. You should never muscle in on someone else’s spot, or at least try to keep a civilized distance. Before we could begin fishing a man and his two boys, aged 6 and 8, arrived at our spot. The 8 year old waded into the water where we planned to fish. We smiled and tried to be conciliatory.

The air horn sounded and we began. Alice had a series of wind tangles, it was a little breezy and her casting was still rough then, she was 7. Our neighbors crossed her line more than once. Finallly, a very small blue gill. He had really swallowed the popper so we snipped the line and dropped him in our bucket. By the time the air horn sounded, we had a grand total of three. We knew the trophy would not be ours, our neighbors had 6 – fishing with worms.
The winners, Emily, the goody goody next door and her marine biology teacher dad. 23! How did they do it? Hot dogs. I tried to explain to Alice why fly fishing is more graceful, that I don’t like using live bait and the old tradition argument (she is a 3rd generation fly fisher.)

“Can we fish with hot dogs next year?”

I took her for a Dairy Queen and hoped she would forget.
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By David Bershtein

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