September 6th, 1999
Learn Something New!
by Craig Thorp
As you know , in June, a number of us attended the Fly Anglers
Online Fish-In in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I am thrilled
that I had the opportunity to go. To meet and fish with the people
that I have been talking to online made for a very enjoyable week.
The day began with a bunch of fly fishers all meeting for breakfast
and coming to the consensus of opinion that almost every time we go
fishing, if we pay attention, we will learn something. Everyone
enjoyed telling their rendition of a lesson that they had learned.
After we finished breakfast we all went to Spring Creek for a few hours.
Then Al Campbell took Parnelli and myself up to Castle Creek. At Castle
Creek the three of us got our fishing suits on. Waders, boots, vests,
hats and rain coats.
A considerable amount of time was spent by the group of us comparing
accessories. Al had a particularly nice gadget that was used to make
a nail knot and was eager to demonstrate it when I took out a new
leader. It turned out to be a very impressive piece of equipment.
Quite a bit of ohh's and ahh's followed the demonstration and I thought
Al may be getting a little self-conscious. So without missing a lick
he hands my line back to me, looks at me and makes notice of my magnifier.
My visual impairment has caused me to use one of those magnifiers
that clip onto the brim of the cap, and quite a bit of time was
spent talking about and comparing our collective failing eyesight's
and how it compares to the length of our arms. The conversation
started to wane, not that we ran out of things to talk about but
it was time to go fishing.
The three of us walked abreast up the fire road which borders
the stream. Castle Creek is a western stream so it does have the
trees and shrubs growing along side it, that I am used to. This
view gave Al the opportunity to point out, as we were walking along,
some of the stream improvements that he and other fly fishers had
done to the stream. He told us about how they had actually built
bends into the stream to slow the flow and increase habitat. I was
Parnelli dropped back to either fish a spot or do some type of
equipment adjustment. It took probably 50 to 75 yards of walking
before we noticed. Standing along side the stream taking in the
beauty of the Black Hills and the stream, we waited. This is an
area of the world where it is easy to get lost in the moment and
become almost unaware of what is going on around you.
I noticed some trout feeding at or near the surface and Al encouraged
me to go fish a bit while we waited for Parnelli. I moved down toward
the stream and began to cast. Just as I was going to lay the line on
the water I felt a fly or mosquito was biting my chin, so I laid the
line down and brushed the insect away. A number of drifts in this
particular area proved to be fruitless. The guys were now past me
and it was my turn to catch up.
Although my two companions never did get that far ahead of me
it was a long time before I saw them again.
As I was walking up Castle Creek I saw the unmistakable flash
of a nymphing trout. Visually marking the spot I employed as
much stealth as I could and eagerly moved down to the side of
the stream. Unhooking the fly from its mount and pulling out
some fly line, I began to cast.
Focused on the quarry I measured the line. Dropping it just
behind the riffle and ahead of the pool so the nymph has time
to sink to the proper level. Leaning forward, my focus is on
the strike indicator. Suddenly my nose smells the scent of burning
hair and my upper lip senses pain.
My God, my magnifier is setting my mustache on fire!
After this minor crisis was over, I moved my magnifier up under
the brim of my cap and moved on. The excitement was probably
too much for the fish and definitely too much for me.
It does prove though that if you pay attention you will learn
something almost every time you go fishing. ~ Craig Thorp
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