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In Response

By Rick Zieger, Iowa

A few weeks ago LadyFisher wrote about what different people collect. As I remember she asked what each of us collected. That thought stayed in my mind and wandered around there. There are several folks that might admit to thinking that there is a great deal of room for thoughts to roam in my head. Even worse, there are times that I might agree with that.

In any case that thought wandered around and I had it come to mind several times. My wife feels that I collect fishing rods and tying materials. That lasted until there were some people that showed pictures of their tying rooms. I was able to forward those to my wife and she realized that I was very far behind in collecting materials. I was also reminded that I really did not have to try to catch up to the others.

A few people had pictures of their rod racks and the number of fly rods on those. I know that I am far behind in the number of rods that I own. With the bamboo rod that I got I can outfit the disciples and use one of them myself. I think that I am done collecting fly rods. But if I find another bamboo I might have to revisit that thought. The dark side can be very addicting.

What I realized was that I collect two things. I have a great deal more room for each of the things that I collect. I suspect that I may not be alone in either of these collections.

First, is fishing memories. There are many of these. Many of these go back to days before I ever looked at a fly rod. They are good memories.

One old memory is of hand-lining to catch salmon. There was an old fisherman in Seward, Alaska that had hand-lined for years. Somehow my Uncle found out about him and invited him to go out fishing with us. We found out as we went out that he had not been fishing for years as he could not afford a boat that would allow him to be out on the bay.

He did bring the materials to hand-line fish. He asked me if I wanted to try it and I was game for it. We tied the hooks on and baited the herring on the hooks. There was about a two foot leader for this rig. At that point you toss it overboard and let a bunch of line out through your hands. The line was stored in a plastic bucket. The line was close to what the backing is now for fly rods.

When a fish hit you yanked on the line you were holding in your hand. This was to set the hook.

It was then a battle to bring the fish in. To bring line in you reached out with one hand and grabbed the line and pulled the hand to your body. The other hand was turning the line around in the bucket. If the fish pulled too hard then you needed to let some line run out through your hands. The spooling of the line in the bucket had to be done fairly carefully so that the line could flow out smoothly and evenly.

It took a long time to bring the fish in. When a fish takes 50 to 100 yards of line out, you don't think much about it. When hand-lining that is from 25 to 50 hand pulls. Not a quick way to land a fish. I did this on two fish and then gave up and went with a rod. But what a great memory.

I have several memories of ponds and the fish that I caught there. I still remember the first pond that I caught fish on with a fly rod. I was gone on the first fish that I hooked on the fly rod.

My first casts could have parted the "Red Sea" when they hit the water. Grace was not part of my fly fishing experience then, and might not be now.

The other things that I collect is fly fishing friends. I have too many of those to try to name them and not miss some of them. Many of them I have not met. There are others that I have met and fished with. Hopefully I will get to fish with more of you in the future.

This is a very short description of what I collect. It would take way to much time to try to list them all. I am sure this is also probably true for you also.

I hope you keep collecting as I am going to. ~ Rick

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