Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Off-Season 釣り

It's the off-season and despite the fact that I didn't even have a bird of my own to fly this past season this time of year leaves a bit of a void that needs to be filled. Thank goodness there's fishing!

I got my first fly rod around the age of 10. I don't really remember why I got into fly-fishing, it may have been because my Dad had gotten his rod out to practice for an upcoming business trip where the company was going to try and schmooze some clients and was practicing his casts in the front yard, or it might just have been destiny. Either way I remember convincing my Mom to buy me a cheap fly-fishing kit and subsequently accompanying my Father on the above mentioned company trip.

We headed to the Green River in Utah and after many hours and watching the adults around me catch numerous fish I finally hooked into a 17-inch cutthroat. You couldn't have found a happier boy at the time. Someone there had a camera and to this day my parents still have a picture of me holding that fish with the biggest smile you could imagine!

Fly-fishing became a regular activity for me after that. The summer between my freshman and sophomore year at high-school I was on the river near my house almost every day and a few years later a group of friends from work and I made fishing after work a weekly, and sometimes daily, occurrence. Good times.

College found me in Hawaii and while I didn't have a fly rod and it took me awhile to figure out the whole saltwater thing I eventually got my groove back. I'd run to the beach in between classes for a few casts and if I had a little bit more time I'd be in the water hunting fish another way: with a snorkel and spear gun. I found a fishing buddy there that was just as passionate about fishing and between the two of us we probably spent more time in the water than out! Again, good times.

This is actually a picture from Thailand but it's the only digital copy of me and my fishing buddy from Hawaii with fish that I could find!

Then I moved to Japan and things slowed waaaay down. We lived next to a large river but it was brackish water and I wasn't familiar with the kinds of fish that lived there or the methods the locals used. Up-river it became strictly freshwater and there were supposedly bass but I'd never fished for those before and didn't have much time to put much effort in to learning how to catch them. There were some ponds out by the falconry club that I spent a lot of time at and I did catch a few tiny bass and bluegill out of those but my fishing took a serious downturn for those three years.

"I caught you a delicious bass..."

But now I'm back in the States and my fly-fishing gear made the trip with me to Colorado. Moving half way across the world, starting grad school, and an infant son hasn't left me with many opportunities to get out on the water though. Such is life. But this past Monday a friend from Church invited me to spend the day on the Arkansas River. I dusted off the gear, tried to remember all my knots, and loaded the reel with new line, it's been awhile since I was that excited!

Three hours there, six hours and four spots on the river, and three hours back and between the two of us only one guppy was landed. But the weather was beautiful, the river was clean, and I had a fly-rod in my hand again after nearly eight years. I'M BACK!! Good times.

Louis and his monster from Monday.