Monday, August 11, 2008

The Teacher

Have you ever taught someone else to fly fish? I’ve helped friends improve their fishing skills but never started from scratch with someone. My wife of six weeks was the student this past weekend in Yellowstone Park, and though I couldn’t have asked for a better student, where do you start?
For starters, I can talk about casting, mending, stripping, etc. but haven’t addressed where to cast, where the fish are, why they’re there, why we picked this certain fly, why I tied this knot, why this water is good and this one is bad, and so on and so on.
How do you expect to hand a person a fly rod, teach her how to get the fly into the water, and expect her to catch fish? It’s like teaching someone to throw a football and expecting him to throw a skinny post to Randy Moss and hit him in stride.
It surprised me on that cold, Soda Butte Creek that my wife is a naturally good fly caster, and she began to inquire about flies and where the water was good, and if she had enough line out, if she was mending right, and so on. I was so proud of her.
And I knew she caught on when she spoke those famous words every fly fisherman has uttered after getting shut out, "I don’t think there are any fish in this river."

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