Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
January 14th, 2002

Flycasting 101 - Not
By R. Eric Johnson, Trussville, AL

Big Smooth loved to fly fish and he did it every chance he got. He tied his own flies and studied the hatches throughout the spring and fall. Today, like many other days, he was in his back yard perfecting his casting, trying to unfurl the perfect loop and have it gently land in the right spot. Slowly he whipped the rod back and forth, causing the loops to grow increasingly bigger.

As gently as a feather, he let the fly come to rest just short of a milk jug he had placed in the yard as a target. As he was stripping his line back, he noticed movement in the grass just beyond his fence.

"Anyone there?" he asked, not expecting a reply.

"Smooth," came the whispered reply, "you alone?"

"Who is that?" Smooth said squinting to see through the fence.

"It's Bonner. You by yourself?"

Bonner emerged dressed in the season's latest camouflage pattern, crouching and cautiously scanning the yard. He jumped the fence and raced to the side of the garage out of sight. Flattening himself against the wall, he sidestepped his way toward Smooth and peered around the corner.

Smooth could see that Bonner had smeared his face with black soot, his eyes and teeth gleaming in contrast. "What the heck are you doing here?" Smooth asked, clearly confused.

"I want you to show me how to do that." Bonner spoke in hushed tones.

"Do what?" Smooth said as he began to strip his line again.

"Fly cast."

The big man stood up straight and looked at the white eyes peering around his garage.

"You want me to teach you how to fly cast? What about last weekend?" Smooth questioned.

"Forget about that. I had to say that stuff," Bonner murmured. "There are some members of the Rack-Up Hunting Club that frown on fly-fishing and I didn't want to sleep in the truck. I had to once before when I slipped and said a certain President was doing an okay job. I just about froze to death."

At the time of the incident in question Smooth, Bonner, and the other members of the club were attending a clean-up day at the travel trailer they called a lodge. Smooth had slipped and said he liked to fly fish and Bonner and the rest of the members had jumped on him with both feet.

They had announced that anyone who would catch a 20-inch trout, kiss it on the mouth, and wish it well as it swam away, was brain-damaged. If it weren't for Ole Bear jumping in and rescuing Smooth, he would have been walking home.

Bonner begged and pleaded for what seemed like forever and Smooth finally gave in.

"One o'clock!" Smooth yelled as he ducked Bonner's errant cast. "Never bring your rod past one o'clock when you're casting out in the open. How many times do I have to tell you?"

Bonner looked up and pled, "I've been doing it this way for three hours now. Can I try something else just once? I saw this on TV," he explained, changing his grip on the rod.

"Fine, go ahead," Smooth said, throwing his hands into the air, "but I'm going to stand on the porch. No sense in you wrapping that line around my neck, too."

Bonner's face produced a lavish smile and he let out a tiny giggle. He pulled the line off the ground and watched Smooth walk up the steps and take a seat.

"This isn't that hard," Bonner thought as the line developed its first loop. "It's quite easy, I'd say." His mental voice was speaking in a thick British accent, the one that always surfaces whenever he's extremely proud of himself.

The fly was out about thirty feet when it caught the edge of the fence post behind him. Bonner brought the rod forward, aiming for the jug. The fly dug into the post and the rod stopped in mid-swing, bending it into a smooth arch.

"I got it!" Bonner yelled. Turning, he jerked the rod, freed the fly, and sent it zipping back right to him. "Good show, old man," he congratulated himself.

Smooth's body cinched up, cringing as he witnessed the unfolding disaster. The runaway fly buried its barb in Bonner's left nostril. Bonner dropped the rod and began screaming. Frantically swatting at his nose he began to run in ever-widening circles around the yard.

The rod and thirty feet of line was still attached to the fly, the fly was still attached to Bonner's nostril, and the whole outfit jerked and bounced off every protrusion in its path, ripping flesh and yanking Bonner's head around with every tug.

Smooth began to laugh uncontrollably. He rose from his seat and lumbered down the steps. Bonner's screams hit crescendo as he passed the steps like an wailing fire engine. Disappearing around the corner, his sirens faded as he ran. Smooth's three hundred and fifty-pound frame plodded out after him.

The trailing rod tangled itself around a Barbie-pink tricycle parked in front of the garage, drawing the 3-wheeler into the melee. Intent on stopping Bonner before there was permanent damage, Smooth dove for the rod and landed on the trike.

His weighty frame slammed into the handlebars and his buttocks engulfed the tiny seat. With Smooth in tow, the sudden change in force-to-weight ratio alarmed Bonner even more and he began to sprint faster, bellowing even louder.

Hauling his feet up from behind him, Smooth maneuvered his feet onto the spinning pint-size pedals. Pounding furiously up and down his knees jackhammered his substantial belly. Like an astronaut in a centrifuge, Smooth was whipped around the corner of the garage, taking out two fence posts and inadvertently scooping up the milk jug and squashing it flat between his knees.

Strained beyond their capacity the rear wheels buckled in mid-curve, throwing the trike and its anal-impaled driver into a catastrophic death roll. He passed a tree on the opposite side from Bonner and began to wrap around it in ever tightening circles, coming at last to an abrupt halt.

Bonner's head snapped back as he came to rest flat on his back in front of the steps. Whimpering and shaking he rolled over and looked behind.

Protruding from a mass of twisted tricycle and humanity wrapped in fly line, a single finger held aloft, Smooth said, "Never go past one o'clock." ~ R. Eric Johnson

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