Lighter Side
What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your humorous stories here!
April 26th, 1999

A Fine Art, Part 1

by Charlie Kroll

From Pools of Memory published by Frank Amato Publications.

I mentioned in the forward that this was not to be another "how-to" book. However, to properly record my most memorable experiences I felt it imperative to include certain highlights of a little-publicized, but nevertheless prominent, phase of the angling craft. As Cervantes remarked, "There's no taking trout with dry breeches."

I can claim with some pride that falling in is an art I have studied all my angling life. Many unreasoning fishermen think of falling in as simply getting wet. Not so. When the proper grace and finesse are mastered there can be many precise variations of this theme, all truly magnificent in scope and virtruosity. Both before and after my cane days I have managed to fall into nearly every river I have fished and my stature as a seasonsed performer is perhaps best characterized by my remorseless search for new fields to conquer.

Alan Pratt cartoon
Let's start with the simple forward and backward falls and then explore a few of the more complicated and graceful forms. The angler will do well to remember that in falling forward any element of clumsiness should be avoided. The basic tactic is to wade cheerfully upstream (or downstream) until the right foot can be placed firmly beneath an underwater root or similar obstruction. The fall forward should be executed quickly with both arms extended upright. A loud cry of "Aaaarghhh!" is optional but the entire body should be immersed, insuring that no dry articles of clothing remain. Further immersion can be accomplished by trying to retrieve the headgear or other accouterments being carried rapidly downstream.

The backward fall is quite similar except that it is triggered by the left heel being placed firmly upon the side of a round and algae-coated boulder.

Having mastered the basic forward and backward falls, the angler can then progress to the more complicated forms of immersion. Generally I find it best to reach a wader-high point toward the middle of the river and reserve the thrill of the actual maneuver until an attempt is made to retreat to the bank.

On Colorado's Blue River I achieved quite a rare form of the art by becoming completely soaked in a mere six inches of water. Hard to do, you say? Yes indeed by being far from a neophyte in this art I succeeded splendidly, as follows: A good fish was rising under the opposite bank. The river was wide at this point with a strong tongue of current down the middle which would have created impossible drag. So I waded out. As I reached the central current I found myself among round, slippery rocks with about two inches of freeboard on my waders. Carefully I laid out line. The third cast fell right, there was a sudden boil and I struck. I dared not move but calling on all the skill and experience of many years I eventually brought to hand a lovely three pound brown. My back was turned toward my own bank and turning around was a nightmare; the strength of the current making it dangerous to lift a foot from the bottom. However, I managed it eventually and edged out of the current and into the stony shallows. I had taken a good fish under difficult conditions and hadn't even allowed a cupful into my waders so it was with a feeling of no small achievement that I strode out for the bank, only to encounter in mid stride an infinitesimal ridge of rock that effectively checked the forward movement of my feet. Not so the rest of my body which followed through quite beautifully. It was at this moment that I realized the truth of the statement that water will always take the line of least resistance - in this case down the neck of my shirt and on down to my socks. I had successfully complete the Forward One-Half Gainer, with complete saturation, in six seconds. ~ Charlie Kroll

Continued next time.

LighterSide Archive

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ] © Notice