Get started in… fly fishing
Getting started i n...
THE FISH WAS HOLDING maybe a dozen metres upstream, rising every 30 seconds to feed. When small fish eat flies that way, they make little splashes as they break the surface. Big fish push the water in slow, silent ripples. I saw ripples.
I had already cast to this particular target twice, but my fly landed wide the first time and a couple of metres short the second. On my third attempt, I managed to put the thing a few centimetres from my quarry’s nose and… he took it. He ran, and I played him for a minute or two before bringing him alongside the boat. Fifty centimetres is a benchmark of size for a German brown trout, one of the sport’s most prized species. This fella was easily over that. After I netted him, I asked my friend Tim to hold him for a moment so I could position myself for a picture. We were on the South Fork of the Snake River in Idaho, just across the Wyoming border from Jackson Hole. The Tetons stood in the distance, still snowcapped in late July. The sun shone, the water sparkled and the cooler was full. I had just landed the largest, most beautiful trout I had caught in my life, and I was about to log photographic evidence so I could brag to all the world, as one does, about outsmarting a lower-order vertebrate. And then, when I took the net back from Tim, my trophy was gone. That’s when I saw the hole in the net. I have never felt so happy and so heartbroken in such rapid succession. That’s why I fly-fish. It’s life, in all its joy and pain, distilled and intensified. With beer.