View Full Version : My Dad continued .... The beginning of an addition

03-12-2011, 10:58 PM
When a boy starts growing into a young man things change for the most part. Those week long girlfriends grow into month and year long girlfriends and our minds are consumed with other thoughts. Camping trips grew fewer and fewer as I had a steady job milking cows and working on a farm in high school. I didn’t go with my parents and sister on camping trips even when they went to places that I’d never been. I’m sure like many before me I alienated myself from my parents because I thought that I knew more than them and besides that, I could have more (what I thought at the time) fun at home doing things I shouldn’t have been doing than setting around a campfire with mom and dad. Life passed and I thought even less of spending time with parents or fly fishing.
Before long I had graduated high school and made a life changing and most costly mistake in my life and dropped out of college. I still knew more than mom and dad and I was going to make my own way. My own way I did make and little did I know at the time but, both our lives would take a major turn almost simultaneously. I married my high school girlfriend and had we had a beautiful baby girl. We grew close in some issues and even farther apart in others. I however, had gone back to fishing more and I had a boat and trout fished on Chilhowee Lake and caught some mighty fine trout. I picked up a cheap fly rod from a yard sale and would try my best to catch those feeding trout in the breaks. I would get discouraged and quickly throw it to the bottom of the boat and reach for the spinning reel. I found myself going back to the park every summer to fish the “green weenie bite”. Even more years passed and dad began to ride a Harley. I enjoyed riding his bike some but, on a return trip across the “Dragon” from a night of trout fishing on Calderwood Lake I saw a man get killed on his “crotch rocket” and it affected me deeply. I never rode dad’s bike again and voiced my concerns with him riding and that I didn’t want to see him end up crippled or worse.
I believe it was only a couple months later that dad began to loose feeling in his legs. He had dropped his bike more than once because of it and he was stumbling around like he was drunk. He had a bone growth in this spine and it required surgery. It was a success and he healed quickly but, he told me that he was selling his bike and going to take up fly fishing. Even though I’m sure the surgery hurt like **** I believe that this was God telling dad to get off that bike before it kills him.
I was shocked and when dad asked me if I wanted to join him at the Little River Outfitters Fly fishing school I jumped at the opportunity. “Heck yeah” I’ve always wanted to learn the “science” of fly fishing. I don’t know exactly what I expected to see when we walked into the fly fishing class but, I assumed it would be flow charts, slide shows, and advanced, biology at the least. Was I surprised when the first words spoken from Walter Bab’s mouth were “this isn’t science folks”. “Yeah, I hear you pal” I recall saying to myself mentally as I looked over at dad. Dad and I both listened contently as Walter spoke of “matching the hatch” and “size and color” along with reading water and dead drifts being the important things to being a proficient fly fisherman. Paula spoke and reiterated what Walter had said and we moved outdoors for the casting section of the class. With only a minimal amount of instruction the class was doing well and placing our “fur balls” in the hula hoop. I don’t know if it was the fact that dad was older or that he just liked having (I can’t remember her name for the life of me) the attention of the other lady instructor (He knew Paula was already taken) or maybe it was the wind but, he struggled a tat bit. LOL!!! I’m just kidding he was doing fine, I just had to rib him a little bit.
The next morning I arrived at the fly shop with the rest of the class for the fishing day but, dad was no where to be found. We were all getting geared up with waders when my phone rang. It was dad and he was running late but, before I could get the words “don’t speed” out of my mouth he said “look out the window and you will see why”. He was stopped for speeding right in front of the store. LOL!! After a good laugh we split into our groups and we were to fish with Paula to begin the morning.
We arrived at our spot and Paula helped us rig our rods and we entered the water. We fished dries in the overcast that morning with little results but, we were having fun and enjoying ourselves and marveling in the fact that we had only lost about a dozen flies between us instead of the 50 or more we would have already lost without her guidance. We finished up there and broke for lunch and to finish our day with Walter at another location. When we arrived at the other location it was some what different than what Paula had previously placed us. This new place was swifter water instead of the nice comfortable slow moving open water. I kept trying and having already fished the river knew where the most likely spots (runs) were to be found but, still found no success. Walter and I sat on a rock and discussed options of taking off the dry and trying a nymph. He warned dad and I that it usually takes him 6 months to fully instruct a student as how to properly fish a nymph. “We don’t care Walt we just want to catch a dang trout” dad responded. With that Walter put on my line the first double nymph rig that I’d ever saw. To say my first thought of the tee tiny number 20 nymph added to the number 16 above it was a sorry excuse of a big fish catching fly would be an understatement but, Walter soon showed me not to judge a bug by its size.
We fished only a short period and I was making a drift when Walter looked at me and said “I’m impressed and it’s obvious you guys have tight lined before but, are you going to catch that fish”? Without hesitation or question I popped the rod and hooked into my first fish of the day, a small 8 inch brown. That drew a smile from dad and I hope his success was to come shortly and it did. Walter moved up to dad and helped him produce some fish. I would also like to add that I landed a SWEET 16 inch brown that I took running and yelling like a small child to dad and Walter. LOL!! I had to add that pops.
We were hooked and there was no turning back. Dad took the ball and ran with it and began tying his own flies and nymphs. He has a library full of fly fishing books and literature that I’m sure has been read more than once. He has antique bamboo rods and reels that he says will be air looms to be left for me and handed down to his grandson. His vacations are fly fishing trips that only leave me in envy and I live vicariously threw his experiences.