Reader's Casts
August 17th, 1998
My Snippet of Story

by Kate Reust (aka Mama)

No one I think just picks up a fly rod - make unknown - weight what's that , and says "I"m going to go flyfishing". It may have been a snippet of conversation overheard, it may have been that far off gaze and the smile with it, it may have been memories of stories long told of parents and grandparents "fishin" off somewhere.

For me, it was a combination of all of the above that guided my interest. My snippets of conversation came as I started work on . You can't read what you work on day after day without some interest being sparked. That far off gaze and smile came any time I had the opportunity to sit and listen to Castwell and Ladyfisher talk ... teach ... remember. The memories were snippets of childhood .. of going to camp and catching a trout.. a Canadian fishing trip with my dad for snapper.

Old far away memories ..
Stirred like campfire smoke
by a summer breeze.

When you 'catch the bug' you got it!
Saying I'm 'new' to fishing would be like telling a story to the author!
My life lessons started with the stories ... yes, these same ones you find resting in stirring both the imagination as well as a yearning that you may just be discovering or have forgotten you had.

'Life Lessons'? Oh yes, that is how I see what is just becoming a passion for me! Well, lets give you the start of my initiation shall I !

Lesson 1 - was literally lesson #1. Pick up a flyrod (under the loving and expert teaching of Castwell and Ladyfisher) and learn just what one of them in your hand feels like! WHACK WHACK WHACK!! Oh I could hear that line singing!

Uh Oh .. lesson 2 - just hit me in the head as C & L informed me my favorite fly (fictitious at this point) had just gone flying off to who knows where as that "Bullwhip" crack had just broken the speed of sound and snapped even the most expert of knots. Oh, red face was a mild term! Okay .. so what IS it supposed to sound like?

Nothing. HUH? NOTHING? Okay.. how am I supposed to be silent with 9 feet of pole in my hand and 40 feet of line that I have to move? Okay... silence was the call of the day... well not completely! Remember this was 'life lesson #1'.

As with all life, there is always more .. so that first day of instruction was full of casting; roll casting, how-to, knot tying, and more! Including making myself quasi-flexible as I watched my line loop out .. and behind me .. front, back, front, back .. hmmm can I teach this as an aerobics class? Then came the double haul training! Double Haul .. is that like double clutching? Uh Oh... nope .. as out came the training instrument that made me do a double take and think to myself ... I'm glad I don't have to touch that "thing".

WHAP... life lesson #2 - Never Say "not me"

"Yooo Hooo... your turn Kate" .. YIKES! Deep breath .. okay I'll try it out ... the hubby did it, guess I better too... I even have pictures that he did! And now he has pictures ... 60+ feet of line in a double haul! ON A BROOM!!!!!! Surprisingly it works!!! Better than you might imagine! ((SEE JC's Article The Worlds Worst Fly rod!)) A sure fire way to make you think you can take on the world!

Okay .. so I had my first lesson ... now.. the time/$ test .. will I still be interested in a week or looking at spending the next several paychecks on equipment? Oh how I love and cherish family that is willing to loan both time, patience and equipment to see if my interest is really there! You know who you are and I loves ya!

Okay...equipped .. now to find water! WHOOOPPS ...

Life Lesson #3 - Practice, Practice, Practice ... and more practice

Yep .. till you've practiced - no tree decorating! Even in my own front yard, my line searched out clover heads and lilac branches to decorate! Whew .. no fly lost there .. just patience in learning how to untie nature knots ... or as friends would have quipped "The Long way of yard maintenance"!

License! Now water? YEP! Now go catch a fish!

Life Lesson #4 - Fish are smarter than a new angler!

Day 1 & 2 on a local lake ... cast, reel, cast, reel, cuss & put on new fly while examining the 20' high tree decoration, cast, reel, cast, reel ... cuss and untie from shore grass while chanting "keepeth thy back cast upeth"! 2 more tree decorations and I'd had enough! Day 3 & 4 on a local lake ... cast, reel, cast, reel, no cussing but time for another new fly. Cast, smoke a cig ... reel , reel , reel... hmmm this flys not working .. lets switch! cast, pull line, cast, reel ... sigh .. getting dark .. okay... I'm thinking "1st fish goes in the fry pan!!!!"
Yep.. you guessed it .. still not even a nibble.

About this time ... I started to notice something.
Work days!! Oh, not as you might think of them .. but on days when I planned on fishing after work .. the day was brighter .. and my spirits with them. My own far away gaze and a hopeful smile!

I'd discovered when I fished .. even un-snagging from grasses and the sometimes agreeable tree that gave back a fly and line intact that more was happening inside than outside of myself.

Into my life had come a still point! No computer whir .. no phones for tech support, no kids (not mine anyway) no "have ta' do, gotta get done"!

Instead, my senses were filled with a new arena of exploration... frogs croaking in the cool mud bank ... seeing my first bug hatch! These flying things that come bursting out of the water into the cooling air of evening. Seeing the fish jump out on the water and knowing they are there. Watching a sunset and letting my mind wander and wonder at it's beauty.

This is where my soul now sits in awe and my own far off gaze.

OH! You tell me that I forget part of the story ? What about that first catch!

Life Lesson #5 - Catch & Release? ME ????

My first excursion to waters not 10 minutes from home came in mid July to the Dosiwalups River in the Olympic Peninsula mountains of Washington state.

We'd had camp setup less than 20 minutes when I had to check the river. Water the color of an opal .. from a seafoam green to royal topaz blue. Like a Viking of old, I went merrily into the void! Whoe, Slow down .. slippery footing Sherlock! So slowly my sneaker and I ventured into the river. At about knee deep, I was far enough from (hopefully) most trees that I could play.

WHAM! or was it a Whisper of tension on the line? A little herky-jerky though my fingers that was different than ever before? Pull in a little line.. lets see what happens ... line in .... jerk , jerk ... Hey! I think ... oh maybe! No ... I didn't haul back like a line backer at a tug of war on the pole ... some lessons I do listen to .. but stripped in line at a speed I hoped would not loose what ever had attacked my fly! "Honey! Honey I got one!" Was the yell I sent down river.

And there, on the end of my line .. about as long as my hand was my first fish! A pretty little natural run rainbow trout.

Out came the hook, after a quick pic, and I held what I had sworn would be dinner for a minute as I slid him/her back into their watery home on the "Dosi" to grow up for next times dinner.

There were several small catches that evening .. each following the first back to the water. The one catch that just galled me and one I'll holler about follows.

FISH PROPER EQUIPMENT! Don't use a HUGE hook when the fish are smaller than it is! One of my catches that evening, belonged to a hook, slide sinker and line catch/bob that had wedged in the rocks of a perfect fish hole in front of a boulder mid-river. I hit this pocket and the line just wasn't feeling "right" .. so I brought it in to check. Here, attached to my line was more than another small rainbow on my own fly, but a matching baby hooked through the eye by the above mentioned apparatus! After removing the hook and releasing the little guy from my fly, I went to the onerous task of removing this giant hook from the eye of the other .. unfortunately the eye also. For several minutes I held this little one in my hands, letting a small stream of river run over us .. watching and wondering if this one would survive... after a few minutes I dipped my hands lower and 'one-eye' swam out of them and to a gentle sandy space near shore .. than off like a shot down stream when I approached again.

So ... there you have it ... my 1st story.
Even with my 1st catch now behind me .. a hopeful rescue too ...
I still sit with that far off look and a small smile ....
as I go through my day.
My snippet of story ...

May you find your own snippet of story
and that far off gaze and smile in your own eyes.

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