By W R Jones
When I was this age I LOVED fishing. There simply was no bigger joy to be had than sitting on the bank of a river with a fishing pole, your pals, and a pack of cigarettes.
I remember nights out on the lawn with a flashlight looking for nightcrawlers to use for bait the next day. These we used for farm pond bullheads. For river catfish we would use a homemade very smelly cheese bait that my dog loved.
There was a wealthy (by Chickencrotch Iowa standards) man who had a pond created at the back of his house just outside of town. He had his pond stocked with bass all 5lb or larger (at least for the first year). We would sneak out of our houses at night and walk out to the pond to fish until just before daybreak. This was in the summer, of course, so we could sleep in.
I was remembering my youth before TV where weekly/monthly magazines were something to look forward to. One of my favorites was Field and Stream. The articles on fly fishing always started me dreaming. It looked so graceful with the line arching through the morning mist sections of it gleaming as it caught the light.
We didn’t have any fly fishing gear in my small Iowa town. I forgot about it for years then came to California. In an Orvis store I saw all this very neat (and very expensive) gear for fly fishing. I’ve never actually seen anyone catch a fish on a fly rod, but I suppose it is possible in theory. I think the idea is just to have fun whipping that line through the air and landing the fly somewhere near where you are aiming.
So, I bought a niffty rod, reel, line, vest, wading pants, hat, flys, a book on fly fishing, and some insect repellent. Then out to the back yard to practice my new hobby. After about 10 attempts to simply get the fly from behind me to somewhere in front of me, I had the brilliant idea to put a small amount of weight on the leader. That should help. I attached a small split shot near the fly.
Worked! I was whipping that line through the air. After a few false casts (I believe that is what they called them in the book), I went for a new distance record. I think I would have made it too if the hook hadn’t set into the back of my ear. Son-of-a-bitch! I had no idea this sport carried risk of injury. And to add the obligatory insult, my wife kept calling me a pussy when I whined as she removed the hook from my ear.
Now I get my fish at a sushi bar; comes with a large beer.