Monday, April 13, 2015

Oh No! Flies for fishing!!!

Oh no!  I feel really bad!  I realized as unpacking I totally had forgotten our box of free fly bait thingies in our borrowed waders for "Casting for Recovery"!  I'd say I was supposed to use those on the river!!!  My poor guide.  I wasted his flies........

Fly fishing....

Fly fisherman I did not make.  While it was very much fun learning, I was terrible, as I feared I would be.  Ponds and lakes present enough problems for me when fishing.  My lures seem to find any and every tree around.  Including sticks and stumps underneath the water.  Chris always regrets the times I talk him into letting me try an expensive lure.  They never last long.  (I prefer white rubber grub worms, real earthworms and corn anyways.  But hate the float Chris wants me to use!)  

The first day we arrived at "Casting for Recovery" we tried on waders and boots which we had pre-ordered.  In my thinking we would be fly fishing on a wide, open aired river, and actually be standing in the river, (think Brad Pitt).  So imagine the sinking in my stomach when we arrived at the river on Sunday to learn to fly fish.  I had imagined a big, wide river (like Tellico River) with plenty of room to avoid trees and shrubs.  What I saw? Citico Creek.  

The positive of the situation came to mind at the same time as the sinking sensation.  I'd not have to get in the water!  All the worry the week before about tripping over a rock and falling down in the water, having my waders fill with water and drowning were gone.  During the previous week of ramblings of fear of drowning after ordering the size of waders, Chris said I couldn't fall in the water.  "Marna, you'll already be in the water.  You can't fall in."  So here I was!  I wouldn't be in the water and thus I couldn't fall down in the water having my waders fill with water and drown.  But then it hit......we'd be standing on the bank.  So although I couldn't fall down in the water, I could fall "in" the river.  

So out of the vehicle we climbed like a pack of lambs to slaughter.  (Well, I'm sure I'm the only to feel that way.)   Luckily I heard "Marna" as everyone was milling about.  (Well, only I was about to be milling around.  Everyone else was excited.)  I suppose the guides had been matched to each lady before we arrived?  Another relief.  Geez I was dreading being picked last.  Like in Red Rover as a child.  

Brad was very nice but I barely remember much about getting to our spot on the river.  (Though I remember it was #8.)  I had too much pent up adrenaline for the situation to think clearly.  Early on during this fishing trip I experienced my one close call to pitching face first into the river.  I'm not sure if my guide caught what happened.  However I quickly blamed my too large boots as I mumbled about almost falling.  Oh the embarrassment had I gone in!

Fly fishing is not easy.  I had no pre-conceived notion it would be.  But it was much more difficult on the actual water than in the yard of the resort practicing the day before.  During our class the lady teaching came and told me I had a great cast.  As she walked away I immediately began to fail.  Pretty soon another woman came over and put a pink rubber bracelet around my right wrist connecting me the pole.  To "keep my wrist straight".  I don't recall returning to my earlier glory.  Why do I do that?  Seems I do much better on my own.  I can take criticism.  In fact I look for constructive criticism.  But once I receive a compliment, bam, the good is over.  Perhaps I feel I cannot live up to what I just accomplished?  I don't know.  That's a whole other blog post......

Add two weeks and the day of being nervous about: "drowning" in public in water with waders; inability to keep a bass/bluegill lures out of trees; dread of finding the right guide; fear of disappointing the right guide; fear of falling off a ledge onto my face; not being able to keep my wrist straight and therefore faltering in my skill in practice thus doubting my ability; learning that tying flies is hard, an art, time consuming and probably expensive and I was about to lose a guide's pride and glory; knowing that trout are more delicate than bluegill, bass or catfish and that I usually (accidentally) either ripped the mouth off a fish on the lake or let it swallow the lure.............. it wasn't surprising I couldn't keep my mind on task:  catching fish, having fun and not worrying about catching trees and bushes or myself for that matter. 

What a mess it was.  Line everywhere-in trees, around the pole....around me.  The first fish I managed to have a bite on?  I yanked the bait right out of it's mouth.  The rest?  Too timid to try.  Though the first I brought onto the bank was a tiny thing.  The size of a bait fish.  I've the impression you're not supposed to say that about trout.  Trout fishing seems to be it's own world, quite different than bass pond and lake fishing.  Trout is not bait to trout.

At one point I almost hooked myself.  Something I have NEVER, ever done in my life.  I didn't even realize the hook was in the back of my shirt sleeve.  The guide told me to hold on a minute then started going to work to free my sleeve.  He was going about it very slow.  I'm not sure if he was afraid of ripping the fabric of my shirt or my flesh.  I was about to tell him just to yank it out whether it was in my arm or not.  I've experienced more pain that a little trout hook could cause and didn't want him to worry about it.  Around the moment I was about to speak he said he had the hook out and it didn't leave a hole.

One trout I managed to hold for a photo?  I dropped.  Twice.  Oh the horror!  Just another thing I'd feared but that fear had came to life.  I dropped a fragile trout!  In public.  With strangers.  Crap.  I dropped lake fish almost every time I caught them but this was a different situation.  One reason I drop fish at home is because I make Chris take the hook out but I want to throw it back.  Fish are slippery when passed back and forth.  (I can put a live worm on a hook but can't stand to take a hook out of a fish.  Strange I know.)

All in all I loved that I tried a weekend of something which took me out of my comfort zone.  There were so many things about the weekend that did that!  In fact all the things in those three days made me uncomfortable-as I had know it would.  So it's surprising I signed up for two years, was disappointed I wasn't chosen either, then was thrilled I was accepted as an alternate.

I think the main reason I wanted to experience the weekend had to do with my Daddy.  I remember as a child Daddy would never hunt or fish.  I remember my brother loved to fish.  I remember that several years after my brother died in 1979 my Daddy started fishing.  Maybe Daddy felt close to Gary doing something Gary loved.  Perhaps I wanted to feel close to my Daddy doing something he had learned to love.  

Daddy, a very quiet man with family, was outgoing with his friends.  A few years after he began fishing he started tagging along with our neighbors who were dedicated trout fishermen.  Every Saturday they'd head to Citico Creek around 4 in the morning to fish the best holes.  I used to ask Daddy every Saturday afternoon how many trout he caught.  For years Daddy would say a couple.  When I was grown and Momma had died I didn't ask Daddy that question very often.  The longer time went on his fishing pride grew.  Daddy never caught a couple anymore.  He caught his limit.

My "bait" trout.

Better??? Think I caught two-officially?

My guide. 

(Hi Patty.  Can't wait to you read this one and compare to my New York Rangers game adventure and how you made fun of the script which ran through my mind during that three hour long disaster.  Lunch soon!)

Gift of hand painted trout t-shirt! Perfect for "Casting for Recovery"

The amount of "goodies" we received was incredible!

Socks.  Of course my fav.

Class on tying flies (for fly fishing)

Had quite a bit of fun learning to tie flies (I believe that's what it's called) at "Casting for Recovery".  However I just couldn't learn the knotting.  Basically I picked the feathers and wrapped the wire.

Finished Product!

Some examples shown during class.  Pretty neat!

No real bugs were used in our class.  Just discussed.

Trying on Waders for Fly Fishing

Yummies at "Casting for Recovery"

(I even ate the fish.)

Saturday and Sunday views from "Casting for Recovery"

Learned a new word this weekend...Grief Jacker

Casting for Recovery - so many stories...........

Coming later today.  I hope.  Lots to do this afternoon.

Nashville Predators

Great time and great seats at the Nashville Predators game on the 9th.  Tanner and I were supposed to go but after the seizure...I can't drive for six months.