I was introduced to someone by a friend and was told she wanted to learn fly fishing. I was happy to teach her, but I forgot what it's like to not know anything. She had hardly any experience fising at all let alone fly fishing. What I learned by teaching her was all the things I took for granted I learned through the years. Reading water, knowing where to cast,line control, knot tying, reading water, fly action, seeing fish. We went to Milbourne Dam to see if we could get into some shad. It had rained a couple days before and the water was really high. Too high to do any effective fishing. This was the 3rd time fishing with Jen and I was determined to have her catch a fish. We had been skunked the other two times we went fishing. We did find a small creek off the Neuse river where I spotted some fish in the shadows. I showed her the fish and pointed them out the best I could. No matter what I did she could not spot the fish. I then tried to instruct her to get into the best position for a cast. She tried a few casts but couldn't get the fly into the target zone. Eventually she hooked a branch and I had to walk down and free the line. I wanted to show her where to cast, so after a few flicks the fly landed in the spot I wanted and after a few twitches a fish was on. Jen was more excited then I was. It was then I realized how much of a fishing snob I became. I forgot how to just have fun fishing.
Before I caught the fish, I kind of felt like this was trash fishing, we were fishing a drainage into the Neuse. I felt like we could catch some fish but it wasn't "real" fishing. What Jen showed me by her reaction was the enjoyment I had forgotten. When I was yonger it wasn't about a "fishing experience." It was about catching fish, even if that meant fishing in gross drainage puddle next to a creek. It's fun to "catch" fish no matter the place.
We left the Neuse and headed to a place I've been wanting to take Jen for awhile. It was a park in North Raleigh I visited a few times when I lived there. I never fished it but I saw fish often when I hiked there. We hiked to the lake and the weather was amazing. Sunny, blue skies and the temperature was in the 70's. We arived at the pond and I could see shadow suspended on the surface. Jen still had a hard time picking fish out. I had her cast a olive bugger and instantly a bass came up and tried to smash it. Jen was a little slow in hooking it. I knew it was only a matter of time before she caught a fish. After a few more casts she had her first fish on. A nice feisty blue gill. Pretty good size too. The look on her face was pure excitement. She was so happy about catching the fish, I thought she was going to keep it and take it home. We through it back and went after another one. It wasn't long before she had another fish. She started to catch on to casting better and spotting fish. It was really fun to watch her put everything together. I had more fun watching her than fishing myself. The highlight of the trip was her catching a nice crappie. It was one of the biggest I've seen. Bigger than any crappie I've caught. We decided to call it a day. I'm pretty sure she is hooked and before we left that morning she told me she had wading boots on the way. I look forward to our future fishing adventures.
It's interesting how the actual catching fish part is secondary. It's just nice to be outside on a beautiful day. Have conversations with a friend, cast a few lines and not even know really what you talked about. But you know you had a good time.