kids first fish on the fly
Anyone who has followed the Unaccomplished Angler for a period of time is familiar with the name ‘Marck’. Do a search within the blog and his name, though not his real name, will pop up countless times. He’s a fishy son of a mother, and it’s no exaggeration that he outcatches everyone else with whom he fishes 99.9% of the time. When he fishes with me that percentage goes up.
Fortunately he’s a good-natured fellow (he also has a boat) or I’d have disowned him as a friend long ago. As an angler, and a parent, it appears as though he’s passed along that fishy DNA to his youngest daughter, Reychelle (not her real name). A recent float down the Yakima Canyon was not her first time fishing by any means—the 13 year-old has gone fishing with her pappy several times before, mostly to lakes holding stocked trout which can be had with typical spinning gear. Neither was this her first time fly fishing, though she’s not done much of it.
And so it was on a chilly day in mid February that a young angler caught her first fish on the fly and proved that being a good angler has nothing to do with age, skill, experience or luck: it has to do with breeding. I’m convinced you either have it or you don’t. I, for example, do not. Tenacity and delusions of one day acquiring a certain prowess as an angler are all that keep me going.
After arranging for a shuttle at Red’s recently opened fancy new Fly Shop we launched The Hornet at MM20 for a half day float. It was 38 degrees as we put in under thin clouds that threatened to burn off and get us close the 48 degrees that the weather app promised. The sun even managed to poke through as we prepared to launch for a 5 hour tour. If Reychelle’s quiet enthusiasm were an indication, we were in for a good day.
Take most other beginning fly anglers, put them in a boat with two other adults full of instruction and advice on how to do things, and most people would crumble under the pressure—or resort to profanities directed at said givers of instruction. Not Reychelle. She soaked it all in, processed the overload of information, and did a remarkably good job of managing what is perhaps the most difficult type of fly fishing that one can endeavor to experience: double nymph rig fishing under an indicator. Key word delivered repeatedly: MEND!
Sure, she missed a few hook sets. That’s to be expected. She hooked but failed to land one particularly nice fish—probably a “Yakima 20” (translation: 18 inch fish). Who hasn’t done that? But she handily out-fished both her old man and myself. In Marck’s defense, he was on the sticks most of the day so he didn’t have a lot of time to fish. He did, however, hook a very nice fish early in the day and handed the rod to his neophyte daughter so that she might play the fish, which she did—for a while. In the end, she hooked, all on her own, and landed one very respectable Yakima rainbow trout, which is more than the adult in the back of the boat was able to say.
The day wore on and clouds thickened, making it readily apparent that the sun was not going win the battle. As the sun faded behind a curtain of gray, a light wind developed in the afternoon; a breeze that cut through fleece like a steak knife through tofu. It got cold.
And while I publicly acknowledged my discomfort, Reychelle stood stoically in the bow of the boat, seemingly undaunted by the plummeting temperature. Hesitant to show weakness, she begrudgingly donned an oversized jacket only in the last hour of the day, by which time I wept openly. Not only was she a better angler, but she also won out the intestinal fortitude contest as well.
If I was able to come away with an ounce of confident superiority over my 13 year old adversary it was that she’s not very accomplished on the sticks. Yet.
That’ll probably change soon.