March 29th, 1999
Over the years, and especially in my younger,
learning years, I have been fortunate to have had some good fly-fishing
friends. Sometimes they would deflate my budding ego as I would think
I had just discovered the answer to some great mystery of the sport. Like
the time I was explaining to Joe Brooks about how I found I could get a
longer drift by flipping the fly-line upstream after the fly had landed. "Right,
Jim, that's called 'mending the line.' Great, he not only knew about it, it
already had a name.
Till next week, remember ...
The stringer of frogs I had captured for a dinner, only to
be informed by my 'naturalist' buddy Trav, they were not frogs. They
were toads. Life was like that in those days. Not to be deterred, I ate
them anyway. I loved to watch the tiny brightly colored butterflies flitting
from the tops of the 'Indian paint brush' plants as I walked along a trail to
the stream. Nope, not butterflies, 'they are meadow skippers,' he said,
which would be followed by the Latin or such name. Kinda deflates one.
The time he actually shed a small tear as we were
on a path to Michigan's AuSable river. Some jerk had stepped on a Trillium
and broken it off. He was like that.
It was, however his way of trying to educate me. Like
when he gave me a copy of 'A Sand County Almanac.'
Or when we would look at an insect ( I no longer referred to them as 'bugs,')
Trav would try to give it the 'proper' name. Fly-fishing was becoming far more
than fishing with a fly. We pushed each other to learn more and more of the
little things which went along with the 'sport.' Research books on insects,
books on fly-fishing, fly tying, selected pamphlets from various universities
dealing with ecological material etc.
Not content with the information available, I lugged jars
of nymphs and unknown insects home, built a fairly elaborate place for them
to grow and develop into whatever they would.
The occasional 'escapee' would travel the length of the
basement, ascend the open stairway, make it's way into the living-room, and
scare the heck out of my wife. (Note here; this is not a good thing to have happen.)
Before long cameras and monstrous amounts of slide
film were added to my 'Fly-fishing.' Let me add here, this can be expensive.
Soon 'Fly-fishing' seemed to be the only point in life. Work was just a means
to afford more of it.
And yet, after all those years, my education is not yet
complete. I still collect books; some are new, some are old editions, others
are re-prints. I try to improve my casting, to learn more of the environment
of where fish live, and in some small way of my own, pass along some bits
and pieces of what seems to have stuck with me over the years.
Yes, I was lucky. Someone cared about me, gave me
a couple of books, tried to expand my knowledge of where I was and what
I was doing. I guess that's what I am trying to do with this web-site. I am
not a fly-fisher who writes, nor a writer who fly-fishes. I am just me. ~ JC