Flycasting 101 - Not
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.
By R. Eric Johnson, Trussville, AL
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
"Do what?" Smooth said as he began to strip his line again.
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
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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