"HI" came the voice form the other side of
the pool I had been working for about an hour
now. Up until now I had the pool all to myself.
The fellow immediately swung his streamer in
the pool, standing right there at the head.
My first reaction was of somewhat annoyance.
He'll probably spook any trout that may be
lurking these waters. I always try to approach
fish from downstream or the side, either that
or keep low if tossing a streamer from up stream.
Oh well, he is on the other side and the pool it
is big enough for the two of us.
"What you got on there?" It was hard to hear
the fellow over the sound of rushing water,
the riffles were quite strong before dropping
over a small boulder ledge into the head of
"I'm using an Adams" came my reply, I wanted to
ask him what he was using but I didn't feel like
yelling. Beside, I'm trying to get over his abrupt
arrival. A minute ago I was alone and happy enough
to be so.
I kept throwing my Adams Wulff up my side
of the pool, trying to mind my own business.
"You're casting on the wrong side" came the
strangers voice. What? oh, he could see that
I was struggling a little with the wind.
"From over there," he pointed. "The wind would
be to your back."
"Oh," I kept casting, or was that throwing into
the wind. Was the wind the main factor for how
one was to approach one's target, I didn't think
I wasn't sure what to make of this, I had read
a nice bit about stream etiquette, but here, I
can fish forever and a day and never come across
another angler, let alone another fly fisher.
There was part of me that wanted to tell him
exactly what I knew about good stream-side manners,
yet a part me was almost relieved to be sharing
the same pool with another fly fisher.
With a few crazy thoughts going through my head,
and a little frustration, (I still hadn't caught
a thing this day), I heard a splash. From my
peripheral vision, I see a trout lunging and
turn my head in time to see it miss the fellows
offering. Whatever streamer he was using this
trout seemed to want it more than my size 12
I expected to see that trout come back at his
streamer, but it didn't happen.
Then, as if the pool wasn't big enough, the
fellow in knee-high rubbers, holding a fat
fibreglass rod was coming straight way across
the stream, above in the riffles. And then he
makes a cast right into the current near the
bank where I was working. I bit my tongue.
Reluctantly, I reasoned, this fellow fishes
the barren waters of the north as do I. I doubt
he has read about who gets to cast where and
when, I doubt he has any sense of stream etiquette,
and why should he? I'll leave well enough alone
and see what comes of this. But he is casting
right in my lane, right where I am casting.
I wasn't pleased.
Wouldn't you know it, after about two or three
casts, he rises that trout once again. "Right
there," he said "cast your Adams right there.
You were here first."
I cast upstream from where I saw the trout rise,
but my cast was out of his lane. I made a false
cast, and determined to get it right, in spite
of the wind. This time, the cast was right on,
and that trout grabbed my fly like it was his
last, well, it was his last. A short struggle,
I stripped in the line and banked a nice 10"
Brook trout. Close to trophy size on these waters.
As I picked the fish up, my new found fly fisher
friend came over to congratulate me. I thanked him.
"King of the pool, that's the king of the pool"
the fellow kept saying. "Yeah, when you catch
one like that you may as well be going, there
isn't another good one, just little nippers left,
because that's the king 'o the pool."
We introduced ourselves, "my name's Bob" said
the unlikely fly fisher. An older fellow, about
sixty, I would say, rubber boots knee high, wind
breaker, baseball cap, with a Fenwick Fenglas
rod and seemingly the only flies were the ones
tied to his tippet.
"Is that a Muddler Minnow you have there?" I asked,
I could see that it was, "That's my favourite
"Yeah, The trout eat them for food in the
spring, and kill them in the fall because
they steel their eggs. During mid-summer I
catch most trout on this one," he pointed
to the second fly of his tandem, a Woolly
I was a little surprised by his answer, he
seemed to know what he was talking about.
We continued to talk, about places we had
fish and fish we had caught, we talked about
flies and what trout like and why. Bob was
generous with his information, and put me
unto places I didn't know existed. I told
him of a lake I fish every spring. He
recognized it and mentioned it is full of
Anthropoids. "Come with me" he said, and we
walked towards his vehicle.
Bob opened the hatch of his little car and
pulled out drawings of Anthropoids, about
four different species. "Keep those" he said.
Bob told me how he had worked some sixteen
years with his daughter for the government
collecting insect samples from many different
waterways throughout the area. He pulled maps
out of his car and handed them along, the maps
were marked with a couple fishing spots. Bob
then past a photo along to me, it was a cougar,
a picture his wife had taken. The cat sat still
for the picture, as Bob explained it, the trees
are full of snow and cats don't like to get wet,
so it didn't move as his wife snapped the picture.
"Keep that," He would say as he passed along each
article of paper, "I've got more." We parted ways,
and I felt much better for having run into Bob.
It turned out Bob knew plenty about fly fishing,
Entomology, and just about anything related to
catching trout in the area.
I found one place that Bob had mentioned to me,
it has since become one of my favourite pools.
I fished the area much during the next year or
so and no trace of Bob. I would come back to
that same pool from time to time, not because
it was a particularly productive spot, but it
was on the way, and maybe Bob would... Until
one day, at that very same pool, I was standing
in the very same spot, when I saw someone appear
on the bank on the other side. I looked in the
direction of the appearance and noticed this
fellow was Bob. Bob waved, I waved back, no "Hi"
or "what you got on?" this time, just a wave.
As soon as he waved he turned around and made
his way back to the trail. I watched him as he
moved very slowly, shaky and every step very
deliberate. I knew something was wrong, this
man was full of life and tackling the riffle
while waving a fly rod to get to this side,
the last time I had seen him.
Bob made his way back the trail, up over the
road side, across the bridge and back the trail
to where I was standing. It hurt to watch him
walk. When he did arrived he didn't stay long,
there was still an enthusiasm in his voice for
fishing. His voice however was stressed and he
told me he had a problem in his knees, he wasn't
specific, but did say that he was going cripple.
Bob then made his way back to his vehicle and
left. He didn't fish that day, at least not at
that pool. He was, out with his fly rod and as
long as he had enough strength to walk, he
I don't know if my path will ever cross Bob's
again. It was two summers ago that last time
we met. I don't know if Bob is still out there,
making his way down a short trail to a trout pool
for another cast. I really don't know if I'll
ever see Bob again.
The only thing I do know for sure from all of
this is, if I had let my first impressions of
this fellow cloud my judgment of him, I would
never have known him for the fine, generous
gentleman that he really is.
The next time you have a pool to yourself,
and that unlikely looking fellow appears
from nowhere to cast a hook at your trout,
just remember Bob, I know I will. ~ Grant Ings
I am a fly fisherman from Thunder Bay,
Ontario, Canada. I have been doing this
some five years now. I started out trout
fishing in my youth, growing up on the east
coast of our continent (Newfoundland). The
waters there are teeming with Brook trout.
My first taste of trout from the surface was
with a long Bamboo pole, a line tied to the
tip and worm dangling from that. I remember
as a little fellow about the age of five, as
soon as my worm touching the surface a little
brookie rising to grab it. I was hooked, this
is fantastic I saw it all happen before my very
Since taking up the fly rod, I have also been
tying all of my own flies, built a couple of
rods and can't leave things well enough alone,
always tying leaders, making lanyards and trimming,
adjusting, adapting just about everything fly
fishing related. ~ Grant