Tight Quarters - Volume 1

As a fly fishing guide, and one taking this profession seriously, I love nothing more than clients new to the sport. Whether it be those preparing to dive in head first and buy their first rod and reel blind to what they are getting into or those who have already had a few thrills and are now marching their way through the progression we all have taken, or will inevitably. For me, I don't really care if I catch a fish or "the" fish in a particular place anymore. It is all about the process of actually getting a or "the" fish to take a fly in a certain situation. This past week I had the incredible privilege to fish with a great guy and also a guide on a small spring like creek and was myself reminded of what clients hopefully feel on our trips, complete elation on every level this sport has to offer. This brief but idyllic jaunt included a long hike in, off trail for a portion of the time to a creek tough to find on most maps, for native species of trout with no signs of other anglers. Challenging but rewarding conditions and size of trout, who cares as that is why God has handed mankind the ingenuity to make such wonderful little sticks as 000wts or in this case a Winston WT and LTX 2wt. Personally, my perfect recipe for a day on the water. That said, this was just a small portion of it. While some of the water was simply irresistible to gaze upon, I found myself unable to pass up fishing the more difficult water. Over hanging grass and branches a mere foot from the waters surface, prime seam several feet back from the tips of the afore mentioned vegetation. And with virtually no backcast space to even attempt the feat I sauntered to the plate anyway. First couple casts catch the trees and grass behind and a slight upward finish to my forward stroke leave my fly hanging desirably an inch or so above the water where certain inhalation awaits. Some gentle coaching from Steve and finesse of the rod tip frees it to drift back. So close yet so far away. Next cast is in and the fish takes with reckless abandon, my 40 year old reflexes so off my fly ends up 15 feet in a tree behind me! Deep breath, tie another one on, watch Steve imitate me perfectly, then dig in again. I just don't give up that easy and I never have. I am stubborn as hell and now have to prove a point to no one other than myself that I can do this! All of this could have been circumvented by simply stepping up to the head of these minuscule runs, why? Why do it and take all of the fun and challenge out of it? This is why nearly every president in our country has embraced this sport. Complete and utter loss of all other worldly issues, including time, when the mind is fully engaged. Much of this water is exactly what we would walk most clients right past as the skill set to get a fly even close isn't in their possession, yet. And while we did manage a few fish, more was gained from Steve and I by simply being able to get a fly into these tight quarters and watch it drift seemingly unattached to either of us whether a fish hit or not. Every now and again we need a day like this to remind us of a few things. One, how our clients feel when on a trip and we are aching to take the rod from their hand and make the "easy" presentation for them so they can get the fish. What we have to remember is even though most new anglers feel as though the fish is the prize, it is our job is to help them realize that the real reward is in having done everything just right to trick them into choosing your fly. When done well the fish isn't that hard to achieve, it is everything leading up to it. Good fishing everyone.
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