On the Fly: Fear of flying
August 6, 2005
Theres something inexplicably thrilling about hooking a thrashing, tugging fish at the end of a line. There is something dreadfully dull about waiting to do so.Usually Ill take any excuse to get on the water. Ill putter around in a boat or inner tube all day, doing nothing in particular except maybe dipping the old feet in the water or throwing back a few cold ones just watching the shore go by. But as soon as a line and lure are thrown in, boredom seems to set in.It must have something to do with expectation. I like to catch fish. I hate to fish.Which is why my list of fishing feats is short, undistinguished and includes only carp. There was a massive one I couldnt even lift caught off the coast of North Manitou Island in Lake Michigan and that albino one hooked off a pier in Grand Haven, also in Lake Michigan, that I managed to convince real fishermen was extremely rare. They werent impressed.So it was with a little hesitation that I agreed to try fly fishing for the first time back again in Michigan last weekend. I see the fly guys along the Roaring Fork as I float by in a kayak or in the Fryingpan as I bike up to Ruedi. I usually chuckle at them, standing there with their goofy hats, multi-pocketed vests and giant rubber waders.They never seem to be catching anything and are always waving the line around in the air like theyre going to lasso some confused trout out of the trees.But there must be something to it, I thought, because those anglers are all over the place.So with the help of a couple of expert and patient instructors (thanks, Dr. Rongey), I donned some waders, stepped into the river and began throwing the fly indiscriminately into pools and eddies.Hey, this was better than just dropping a lure into the blue and waiting around for that magical tug. Fly fishermen actually get to walk around, and casting takes real concentration.I managed to reel in 18 inches of rainbow trout (thats three 6-inch leviathans) in about 45 minutes. I also caught a couple of tree branches and a log and managed to break the reel off the rod. Now thats fishing!