July 15th, 2002

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .

A Legend In My Own Mind
By Cary Morlan (aka Linemender)

I didn't go to Dry Falls Lake, WA this weekend as intended. My waders were in serious leak mode and Sunday I acquired some Aqua seal to patch them up. According to the instructions I am supposed to wait 24 hours for it to cure. Well, I didn't start patching early enough to make it out to Dry Falls on Monday so my brother and I hit the Rocky Ford area for about 6 hrs. I patched my waders Sunday morning and spent the rest of the day tying flies. I need to replace all my flies in the missing fly box. Did I tell you that story? Anyway I tied some scuds and some of those Andy "Yong" Kim midge patterns. I also tied some dries however I am all out of grizzly hackle so I had no Griffiths Gnats. That hurts, for those are the dry patterns I have the most success with.

My usual fishing partner is my brother Mike, but he was off to Missoula to check out work and lodging opportunities. He is taking a Civil Service exam and is hoping to get on as an EMT. He has prior experience and will just need to get certified for Montana. In his stead I called my novice fly fisherman brother Kevin. Now I hadn't been fly fishing with Kevin before but Mike had given me a heads up. I was told that he tries to throw too much line and is prone to try and fish right next to you so he can carry on a conversation. It was with some trepidation I picked him up at 7:30 Monday morning and headed out for the "Ford."

I always enjoy Kevin's company and usually enjoy sharing my limited knowledge of the art. I have been fly-fishing for about 30 years but am learning something new every time I read or fish. I am always open to new ideas and will pick someone's brain as long as they will keep answering questions.

Kevin and I enjoyed the conversation and did a little catching up on the way to the creek, enjoying our coffee and anticipating the pleasures of what was shaping up to be a very hospitable day weather wise. Upon arrival at Rocky Ford, Kevin and I migrated to the lower end of the fishable portion of the creek. There is a small spillway and some nice riffles and pools where the fish stack up. The water was very low and visibility was outstanding, especially with polarized glasses. Looking at the residents of my favorite fishing hole I was anxious to get started. I made a few cast to get warmed up, and as soon as Kevin started casting I moseyed down stream to get serious.

As I started working the slot I chose to fish, I had a couple quick takes on my Yong midge, however I was too quick on the draw and just as quickly remove the fly from the fishes grasp. Getting no more takes on the midge I changed to a scud. This was a new modification I was trying. I weighted the hooks and used Ostrich herl for a body material, thinking that the soft herl would pulsate and make for a reasonable facsimile of scud legs. I think I used too much weight for I found myself cleaning creek scum off my fly about every other cast. To make matters worse, no fish seemed the least bit interested.

Lacking patience this day, and really not all that fond of fishing scuds, I tied on a dry. It was a #20 olive body with a dark ginger hackle. Once again I failed to interest any of the home boys. It was in the midst of this frustration that my brother wandered around the corner and asked the inevitable question, "So how are ya doin?"

Mustering all my humility, I gave him the score, fish 2, Cary 0. I got two on my yellow scud was his uninvited reply. "Great" I countered with my best phony smile. I must be really good at the phony smile thing because the beaming grin on his face just got bigger.

As he sidled up next to me and started to cast I got most of the story. Two nice fish and didn't I hear him holler? Actually I wish I had heard him, as I had brought the digital camera and would like to have had a photo for my "Fish, Lies, and Photographic proof" folder. As it was, we chatted for a while and I started feeling the pressure to perform. This was truly a case of Performance Anxiety at its worst. I couldn't get a rise, so to speak.

Kevin wandered about 60 yards downstream and I went back to work. I know it's supposed to be a pleasure, but my ego had taken over and all I wanted was to fill the bill of the successful fisherman. I was losing track of all the reasons I fish, and, failing to enjoy my brother's success.

About that time the BWO's started coming off and I proceeded to get a hook-up for about a minute and a half before the long distance release was initiated. It's funny how I was worried that Kevin should see me at least have one on for a minute. Looking down stream I could see him trying to reach the big boys in the wide shallow pool he had chosen to fish. As I fruitlessly flailed the water, I saw Kevin hook and land two more. I think it was about this time I went into surrender mode.

Kevin walked back up to where I was silently crying behind my mask of serenity, and pulled out the two cans of Starbucks he had brought for our midmorning respite. Sitting there talking about the beauty of the creek, the fish and the day re-centered me concerning the reasons I come to the creek. Every once in a while I need to be reminded of my own words concerning fishing as opposed to catching and the fact that it is not a contest, but a pleasure I indulge in. We fished a while longer and Kevin caught two more. I lost two more flies and spent most of the time trying to figure out when I could return to the "Big City" to get some more grizzly hackle.

I had an appointment I needed to keep at 2:00 PM and as 1:00 approached I reluctantly (yea sure, I just wanted to go home) asked Kevin if he was ready to pack it up. "Sure" he said, with all the smugness of a little brother who had just put the hurt on me.

On the ride home I informed him that I was never taking him fishing with me again, that this was the first time in 8 trips that I have been skunked. He had this big silly, in-your-face grin on when he said that as he remembers it I never caught any Steelhead when I took him Steelheading either. Jeez, rub it in why don't ya. So I got to thinking, has he ever seen me catch a fish? Maybe I will take him out again. After all, my reputation may be at stake. ~ Cary Morlan


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