I have been fishing since age three or four, so long ago, it's tough to remember. In my family we all love fishing, and it begins from the time we get out of diapers. Both my father and my Uncle Kenny write outdoor articles and books, and Uncle David is obsessed with fishing, so all of us fish- from the tykes to the grandmothers.
My first rod and reel was a little Mickey Mouse outfit and I started off with worms, not flies. I look back on those early fishing days as some of the most memorable because the adults let me be the "Worm Lady". If anyone wanted a worm for the end of their hook, they would holler out "Hey Worm Lady, will you bring me a worm to put on my hook?" That was the biggest joy to me! People wanted ME to bring them worms ... my boy cousins didn't like to handle either the worms or the trout because they were so slimy. So I trumped them every time I handed them a worm.
And when we caught fish with those wiggly worms, I would squeal (Dad has it on videotape) and grab hold of those slimy trout and rush over to show my two cousins, Bryan and Chase my latest trophy. All we caught the first few years were tiny brook trout, but we thought each one was Moby Dick.
Wow, what could get better in life? I can tell you that fishing, year after year, just got better and better. From that first summer on, I was excited to go fishing. From that first moment on, I was hooked!
Every summer since I was four, I have been going to spend the summer with all my family in our little hideaway in Colorado. And every summer, I am more excited to return and see what has changed. I wonder during the winter if my favorite fishing spot is still there or if the spring runoff has made the stream change its course. The beaver ponds we used to fish when I was five have now silted in so we have new favorite beaver ponds.
Every year Mother Nature will do this to you. Things always seem to change just a little bit. But that is what is so great about everything. I can see what has changed.
Now I am not a big fan of just sitting at one place waiting by myself for a fish to just happen to come and take my fly. I for one know how boring this can get. I love to wade upstream for miles, looking for the perfect fishing hole. And I always love to go off my with my Dad and it would be only us fishing.
We always fish a little (of course) but we also just look at everything. He and I find cougar or bear tracks. We study how beavers built a dam. We watch deer through binoculars. And it's funny how I always seem to catch more fish when Dad's around.
I remember one year, in the middle of the summer and we were out fishing the backcountry up in Colorado. Not only did we see all sorts of "droppings" but we also saw SNOW! How cool is that? Snow in the middle of the summer? You can't see that by sitting around in your t.v. room.
I remember when I was seven and for a present, I got my first fly rod and reel. Boy, did I think I was grown up. My Dad didn't have to hold my rod with me, my Mom didn't have to watch out for my hook and tell me where to cast it. I was going to be able and do it all by myself with no one telling me if I was doing it right or not.
My first lesson with my new rod is etched in my memory. The photos of that day show that I was wearing sunglasses so big, they were falling off of my face. I was just glad not to use my Mickey Mouse rod anymore. Even though Dad stood about ten feet away from me and I wasn't allowed to cast near any trees or telephone wires, I thought I was fishing like a pro. And what is the coolest thing is that I actually caught a fish on one of my first casts using only a fly and landed it myself. How amazing is that?
Fishing is now a tradition for me, for my family. I fish a lot with my two cousins, Chase and Bryan, who are the same age as me, and each year, our dads/ uncles take us on a big fishing trip, no moms allowed. For the past two years we have gone on a backpacking trip into the mountains. We will hike in to a place stay a night or two, fish the high mountain streams, then hike back out.
We had a Gilligan's Isle trip last year where the quick backpack hike into the stream went from a three-hour tour into a Boston Marathon. The fishing was awful, the mosquitos were as big as model airplanes and it rained for two straight days. The dads saw this was turning into a disaster and saved the trip by hiking us out that second night and driving us straight into Santa Fe, New Mexico where they filled our bellies with Mexican food and took us shopping. Like Dad always says, not every fishing trip is about catching fish.
Now don't get me wrong. Like most teens, I love to just lie around and watch TV. But I also like to go out and fish with my family. I like to just sit outside and listen to everything. Both the outdoors and fishing help me relax.
And fishing gives me special memories. One time, my Dad had told me to hold his hand and we would cross this little stream which was more of a long beaver pond than a stream. The stream turned out to be a lot deeper and siltier than we had thought and I started sinking up to my knees.
Dad took my rod and told me to get onto his back. Big mistake. Picture this, a six-foot guy, two rods, a nine year old girl with wading boots full of water and silt, a packed vest full of flyboxes and candy bars, and a muddy deep beaver pond. I'm not going to tell you the whole story, but let's just say it is a wet day neither one of us will ever forget.
Not all kids will like to fish but at least they can be in the wilderness where you can see things that they would never see anywhere else. I would never have seen a huge waterfall with a rainbow behind it. I would have never seen big bear footprints or deer running across a stream. And I wouldn't have so many great memories of my family without fishing. These are just things that you can't get anywhere else but out on some stream. And I am appreciative to my family for teaching and sharing the sport of fishing with me. So get off the couch, turn off the t.v. and go hook a fish!
Click here to
view the archived articles.
to send comments or feedback on this
here to check out a river near you.