My Greatest Challenge
I've decided to take on the greatest challenge of my adult life. A task so great that only the most accomplished of fishermen would take it on. A mountain that seemed so insurmountable that a few years ago it was only something that I could dream of. Some people would call me crazy for even attempting it. Should I achieve this dream it would be the greatest accomplishment of my fishing career.
What is it?
You’re probably thinking that it’s a hiking/ fishing trip into some unimaginable backcountry. Or traveling to some faraway land, which upon return both stories of huge fish and great adventure will be told.
Nope!! I've decided to teach my wife to fly-fish.
My wife and I have been together for over 20 years and she has never, ever, expressed interest in fishing, hunting or any of the like. Now, I'm not saying that she dislikes the outdoors she loves it and enjoys her time in it immensely. She has accompanied me on many adventures into the mountains. She can ride a four-wheeler with the best of them and even has her own. Most of the time when she does come along on a fishing trip she can be found on a log under a tree with a good book. Not until recently have I even contemplated the idea that she may be interested in casting a line or two.
On one of the many adventures we shared was to a high country lake, with our 3 kids, where she would bait hooks and cast the kids poles for them. I was tasked with helping the kids pull the fish in and take them off the hook, but that’s as far as her fishing ever went. She is just too kindhearted to be the one responsible for killing another living thing. She loves cooking and has prepared many fine meals over an open fire and enjoys the taste of fish. Dutch oven cooking is something she has become quite exceptional at. She is quick to research a recipe to suit any cut of meat whether its venison, pronghorn or elk. The taking and the processing of said meat is, of course, my job.
The idea of getting her behind a fishing rod popped into my head on a recent trip to the mountains. It was just she and I. Our kids are all older now and their hectic schedules of college and jobs don't allow them time to accompany us as much, so we were all alone on a camping trip for the first time since our kids were born. We traveled into a high mountain lake having to dodge snowdrifts that were left from the winter. It was June and I had recently purchased her a 5 weight fly combo and had secretly stashed it among my gear.
The Fishing was Fantastic!! It was so good that it seemed they would take a bare hook. I was using a worn Royal Coachmen, and was catching on nearly every cast. I knew the timing was right because we were all alone and the fishing was exceptional. I wanted her first time to be in a place she knew with little distraction or worry of embarrassment.
This was it.
I presented her with the rod I had stashed away. I could tell by her apprehension that she wasn't too sure about it. We put it together and strung her reel. I showed her the few knots it took but didn't get too in depth with details just yet. She’s watched me cast many times and wondered confidently aloud "it can't be too hard."
I didn't say a word.
She picked up the pole and began to swing it around, which pulled the fly and line back down through the eyelets. With a Laugh I said "Nope, its not too tough once you figure out that part." She laughed and pulled the fly out trying once again, this time managing to get some leader fed out and looking more comfortable. She walked to the side of the lake and made her first cast. I showed her how to strip line and let her go. I was totally amazed at how quickly she got the hang of it. We weren’t in a great place for fancy maneuvers, which was fine I just wanted to focus on the basics. She got the hang of it faster than I expected and she seemed to have fun too!
Unfortunately she didn't get a bite, but her perseverance was something to behold. She wasn’t frustrated with the process in the least. Even when it came time to leave she was began listing fishing spots that would allow for a better learning experience. I was so excited that she actually enjoyed it that my face hurt from the broad grin I held all the way back to camp.
Hopefully, I will be able to regale you with stories soon about her fishing experiences and hopefully some worthwhile catches as well.
Until next time, Tight Lines!