November 8th, 2004

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Just Add Water

By Cary Morlan, Moses Lake, WA

In January of 2003 I invested a little time and effort in inflicting another human being with an obsession my friends and family have tolerated for quite some time (see Readers Cast's January 27, 2003). Little did I realize at the time just how contagious fly fishing was? I can only assume that my Brother-in-Law, Doug Gran, saw in my demeanor a euphoric resonance without which his life would not be complete.

It was but a matter of a few months, until Doug started dropping innuendos about needing something to occupy his free time, an escape from the routine he was settling into. Finally retired from the Postal Service, he was working diligently as an associate Pastor for a growing parish in West Seattle, Washington.

The inevitable questions arose. What would be a good entry level fly rod? Where are some good places to fish in his area? How could he learn to cast? It took very little encouragement on my part to entice him into ordering an economical set up. A visit to the coast in the spring, and an afternoon in his back yard practicing casting under my less than knowing eye while our wives visited on the deck, was enough motivation to encourage him to put Doug and Kate Gran on the "I'm going list" for the 2003 FAOL Idaho Fish In.

It's often said that "Misery loves company" and I find that when it comes to the exquisite misery found in fly fishing it remains the truth. I was excited to be able to introduce a friend of 30 years, to an avocation that can totally consume my every waking moment. The next 6 months were an exercise in patience as I awaited our trek to the junction of the Selway and the Lochsa where we would venture forth in a crusade to entice willing westslope cutts to sacrifice their freedom momentarily, so that we could feed our deep seated need. The need to occupy the Hunter Gatherer niche, to fill the Alpha Male role, the need to justify expenditures on doo-dads that only fill up our vest and empty our wallets.

And so we had arrived at 3 Rivers Resort well rested and excited after a leisurely cruise in Doug's Winnie Sightseer. Meeting new friends and renewing old acquaintances, I introduced Doug to the fraternity that is FAOL.

First fish on a fly on the Lochsa

The next 5 days were spent helping Doug accumulate some of the knowledge needed to facilitate reasonable competence on the water. His casting improved over the course of the fish in, fish were hooked and brought to hand to be admired and released. I felt that this was a precursor to times ahead, when he and I would be sharing more time on the water.

We left Idaho a day early for a couple of reasons. To spend the night at our house would enable Doug to halve the drive home, and would provide ample time the next morning to visit Rocky Ford Creek, where the seed had been planted.

Without the overbearing self appointed instructor looking over his shoulder, Doug staked out a nice pool with rising fish and preceded to put his practice to good use, making a fine cast and good presentation to a cooperative rainbow. Doug was morphing, and it was all good. I could see the thrill in his eyes and feel the satisfaction in his voice that comes from doing all the right things to gain the desired results. He was hooked.

Doug's first Rocky Ford rainbow

That was 6 months prior. It hasn't taken Doug long to discover the downside to fly fishing. He called me in February and it was obvious he was suffering a severe case of cabin fever. I invited him over for the cure and it was a matter of a week and we were meeting in the parking lot at the creek. Having left Seattle at 5:30, he was itching to get out on the water and rekindle the spark.

It was a mite colder than his last time here, and there was nowhere near the same amount of bugs coming off. The water level was way down, however he didn't have the aquatic vegetation to contend with. As always, we had a good day on the water. I caught a few fish but Doug was having trouble getting a hook up. He was doing everything right, but as we all know, some days it just doesn't happen.

Being aware of the time, unlike myself, Doug informed me that he should be hitting the highway so that he could get home at a reasonable hour. As we walked back to the parking lot, I was forced to stop and make a couple more casts to some water I had yet to fish that day. It was the wisest decision I made all day. I didn't catch anything, but it did allow Doug to make a few more casts himself, and he made the most of them. In a pool holding maybe 15 fish, he hooked the largest of the lot on a #20 dry, joining the 20/20 club on his third time out. Needless to say he had a smile on his face when last I saw him as he was leaving the parking lot.

Doug enrolls in the 20/20 club

I guess I take as much pleasure in catching fishermen as I do in catching fish. I believe there are thousands of unsuspecting people out there who have not yet had the gentle prod in the right direction required to convince them that they, also, are fly fishers.

I find that the more time I spend on the water with a person, the better I get to know them. My circle of friends is growing all the time. ~Linemender AKA Cary Morlan

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