On the Fly: Taken to school
On the Fly
Growing up in Basalt has many advantages, especially when you are a 10-year-old girl with a fly-fisherman father. We live in a bona fide fishing town, which is slightly different from, say, growing up in an upscale ski town like Aspen or a bustling metropolis like the Denver metro area.
Being that I work at one of the two fly shops here in this small drinking town with a big fishing problem, otherwise known as Basalt, I’ve come to know most of the local fishing contingent and goon squad. My daughter is always kidding me that wherever we go, someone is always asking me how the fishing is. And to her credit, she is always being asked if she likes to go fishing, to which she politely answers, “yes.” Little do they know that she has been able to tie flies and do whip finishes since she was 4 years old. For that matter, I know several fishing guides that can’t even tie flies.
Through Basalt Elementary School and in cooperation with the Roaring Fork Conservancy, I was able to teach the art of fishing to her entire fourth-grade class last year. My daughter took the reins, helping her friends tie knots, cast, catch and ultimately release fish. She was guiding and didn’t even realize it. As her father, I don’t know if I could have been any more proud. In the weeks that followed, several of her friends would stop me and tell me, “Mr. Kirk, I caught a trout this big from so and so.” Over the course of the summer, I would often see many of my new fourth-grade graduate friends out at Old Pond Park casting their yellow rods donated to them by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. I’d see them riding on their bikes, rods stashed in their backpacks, with soaking-wet clothing, laughing hysterically and just having fun going fishing. This is the way fishing is supposed to be and what continues to make me love this sport: acting like a kid again.
Children never cease to amaze me, so when my daughter Madison asked me this weekend to take one of her friends fishing, I did just that. My daughter knows me well enough to know that I’ll never say “no” to going fishing. I learn from her, too — truth and honesty are things that fishermen are never really all that good at, except when you’re 10 year old. So when she out-fished me this weekend (and yes, I was trying), I was ecstatic!
When I was asked later how the fishing was by a friend of mine, I said that we caught a few but it was slow overall. When my daughter was asked the same question by one of her friends, she said that the fishing was awesome and that she landed the biggest fish of the day. Needless to say, I have a lot of learning left to do. Thanks, Madison, for always keeping your dad in check.
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David Wise is playing with house money. And he knows it. So, ask the only man to ever win Olympic gold in the halfpipe if he feels pressure bidding for a three-peat in China and the free-spirited 31-year-old freestyle skier just laughs.