Get started in… fly fish­ing

Get­ting started i n...

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Contents - BY JON GLUCK

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.

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