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Whats your story? Who got you into Fly fishing?

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Just wondering who got you into fly fishing? How did it all happen for you?

About 20 years ago I had a friend that was my age and a guide for a local shop. He guided in north Idaho in the summer and the Christmas Islands in the winter. He ask me about fly fishing and I told him that I had always wanted to try it. He took me to the shop and helped me get some gear.  He told me to spend my money in this order. 1 get the best rod you can afford. 2 get the best line. 3 get what ever reel will work. 4 Felt soled boots because I would need them where we were going. So I got a 6wt Sage rod I don't remember what model. I know it was one step up from the Discovery series at the time. I got a Sage discovery series reel and a rio gold line. I got some felt sole boots. By then I was broke! That was it for me in my 20s. Not much extra cash sitting around. 

Then he introduced me to the other guides in the shop. He told them we were friends and that I was new. He gave me a hip bag and a fly box full of flys. Then the other guides started pulling out stuff from their bags. They gave me fly boxes, flies, leaders and tip it. those guys totally set me up with what I was going to need. 

Then I had the blessing of getting to go with them to one of the finest blue ribbon trout fishing rivers around. What a fun time it was. Being new and fishing with a bunch of guides on their days off on their home waters. They caught a bunch of fish. I lost a bunch of fish and never landed one! 

That was all it took. I was obsessed with fly fishing and all related things after that. 

How about you? Whats your story?

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It was my Dad. He taught me early on as a kid. I enjoyed it ,but, wasn't really proficient and found spin fishing a bit more suitable to my abilities. I kept practicing and getting better. Once he encouraged me to start tying,It all kind of fell into place. I still carry a spinning rod with me when I fish out of the kayak,but 99% of the time, it is just there and never used.

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About 1959-1960, bought a South Bend fly rod, reel and "D" level line (equal to 7 wt.) on a whim. Leader was 6 lb. mono attached with the barbed loop in the end of the line. Thought I would try it. Later, Dad and I invested in two $10 Japanese bamboo rods at Big K. Still have both rods and fish them occasionally.

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I went into a hardware store that was going out of business. Did not know that his was happening until I came back from vacation. 

Wanted to touch bases with him and tell him I was sorry to see him close.  

He said he had a fly rod and two round plastic containers of flies he would sell me for $10.00.

I walked out with them.  I will admit I was like "Moses" and parted the sea the first few times I cast, but I was hooked. 

And now you are stuck with me.

 

Rick 

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I was a happy, self-taught, self-motivated bait fisherman until the age of 30. 

I had never heard of fly fishing until I saw that movie everyone likes to complain about. Then a year or two later, in 1994 or 1995, I tried it while on a solo hiking vacation in Glacier National Park. Reluctantly paid a guide $240 (!!!) for one day in northwest Montana. Did not expect any great things to happen. But it opened a whole new world. Self taught, self motivated ever after that. 

I do envy the guys who had great fly fishing mentors, but that wasn't in the cards for me, just years and years of trial and error. Still in it nonetheless. 

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the recreation department at lockheed martin (martin marietta back in the 1980's) in colorado was offering free fly tying and fly fishing lessons. the rest is history

if its free its for me

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The first time I ever saw anyone use a fly rod was when I was in college in NW Tennessee, of all places, in the mid-70's.  I was meeting a friend, Roger Peacock, to fish one of our English professors farm pond.  He showed up with this funny looking rod and reel with this funky lure made out of deer hair attached to what looked like really thin plastic clothes line.  He proceeded to go through various contortions  to get the lure to land on the water so the bass could see it.  It wasn't a great day for either of us.  I caught the only fish, a decent 3 or 4 lb bass which went home for dinner, of the day on a Jitterbug.   I guess it must of stuck somewhere in the back of my smoke befuddled mind. 

 About 15 years later, I'd reached the limits of what I could do with spinning rod.  I was fishing an ultralight spinning rig, that was the equivalent to a 0 or 1 wgt fly rod.  I was building my own rods, so I built myself a fly rod.  It took a couple of tries but finally made one that worked for me.  Looked up local fly shops and found one in Media, PA not far from my sister's house.  Stopped by there, Barry, the owner, was really helpful.  Sold me my first reel,  changed it so I could use my left hand to reel in the line, put on the backing, sold me a some flies and I was on my way down the slippery slope.    It was a group effort.  Barry and his store manager, Mary Kuss,  the old guys at the Main Line Fly Tyers club,  a guy name Bill Horowith, who ran a bed and breakfast near Starrucca, PA and guided on the Upper Delaware.  He introduced me to snowshoe rabbit as a tying material and told me "If you keep bringing that damn spinning rod with you when you go out with me, you'll never learn how to fly fish,"  

Many influences, the most influential,  the people I met on the [email protected] list over the years.  I had a chance to fish with, tie flies, share meals and drink with many of them at 4 or 5 day gatherings, claves as they were called, around the Northeast.  There were world class tyers on the list who were willing to share their patterns and show you how to tie then when you had a chance to meet them either at the claves or, for me, the NJ Fly Fishing and Fly tying shows.   Folks who had more fly fishing knowledge in their little fingers back then than I have in my head after 25 years of sliding down the slope, and shared it willing.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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My grandfather and his brother fly fished and I learned to use a fly rod, an old telescopic steel thing, with bait, floating the line down the brooks and streams with a worm or grass shrimp (level line for a bobber). They both fished the wet fly and so did I when I grew into it. I started tying with a uncle that made his living hunting, fishing and trapping, tying flies and bucktail jigs (everyone said he was a carpenter but I never knew it). I started tying bucktail jigs, cod teasers, and mackerel rig flies with him. My family (parents, siblings and I) moved around from southcoast MA to western CT, my father worked construction when they where building I-95 and I-84 so I started hanging around loose establishments when I could find them with old men in smoky rooms drinking coffee and tying flies until I joined the service. It kept me out of serious trouble, forced my to find employment to support my "hobby" and all its associated equipment.

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As far back as I can remember (and it was a LONG time ago,) I went fishing with my grandfather and sometimes my dad.  In those early years, we were not fly fishing.  When I was just starting my teen years, I found a fly rod in the garage, and took that up the canyon and whipped it around some,  don't remember catching anything.  In 1965, I got a summer job on a 33' pontoon boat.  We loaded about 20 guests on board every morning and floated the Snake River in Jackson Hole.  The float ended between 1 and 2 in the afternoon and on many days, we would have time to kill before loading the boat on the trailer.  Wayne, my boss and captain, said lets go fishing.  I didn't even bring any fishing gear, but he loaned me his spinning rod.  We went over to some beaver ponds (now closed to fishing,) and Wayne fixed me up with a rig that had a nymph under a water filled bobber.  I would cast it out and let the nymph sink and give it a twitch every now and then.  

Wayne started around the pond casting with his fly rod, and I was mesmerized watching him cast and catching small brook trout.  I was so caught up in what Wayne was doing, I missed many of my strikes, but I did catch some.  I called back home that night and asked mom to dig up whatever fly rod outfit she could find in the garage.  I got it a few days later, and started trying to learn to cast it.  The rod was a POS glass rod from way back, the line was level, and the reel was nothing but a crank on a spool.  But the river was there every day, and after tying up the raft, Wayne and I would wade out and start casting. 

Wayne taught me how to cast, and also showed me 12 flies that would work.  He had spent many years as a park ranger in Yellowstone, and Glacier Parks, and knew what worked.  That first summer, I spent my "spare" money of a better reel, and line, and flies.  The flies from Carmichael's shop in Moose were 50 to 65 cents each, and I went through a bunch.  That fall, when I got back home, I dug out the only book I knew of on fishing.  The Wise Fisherman's Encyclopedia was my only resource.  From that I started learning to tie on my own, and learned to tie all of the patterns I had been buying.  I also dug through all the fishing rod parts in the garage, and built myself a bamboo fly rod from three sections I found that fit together after I found some ferrules to restore it with. 

The next summer  with my new supply of flies, I went back up to Jackson for another year of guiding tourists and fly fishing.  As bad as my flies looked, they did catch fish, and I kept on learning.  With practice, many more books, and clinics from every fly tier I could find, I very quickly got better.  For the next 30 years, I worked in various sporting goods stores and tackle shops.  I did a lot of custom fly tying during those years.  In 91 I went back to college, and by 96, I had a new career.   

Went into an entirely new line of work and after 24 years retired to Florida.  Now I tie only for myself and a few very select friends.  I now tie fewer than 1000 flies a year, since all fifty of my different boxes are pretty full.  I owe all the success I have had fishing and tying to Wayne Casto, and the many other people who I learned from over the last 55 years.  

 

 

 

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About 30 yrs ago, right around 1989/1990 not too long after my grandfather passed my Dad & I were cleaning out some things from his basement and I came across an old beat up aluminum tube in the rafters that had my grandpas old 8' 3pc Siplex fly rod in it. My Dad & I were always huge fisherman but never fly fished. Dad told me about grandpa fly fishing the Au Sable all the time back in the 1940's & 1950's with his friend Paul. So I took the old rod and started teaching myself how to fly cast by renting some old Joe Humprys and Gary Borger VHS tapes from the local Blockbuster video store (remember it was late 80's/1990 :)

So 30 yrs later, here I am fly fishing with my friend Mark, fishing the same spots my grandpa use to fly fish with his friend on the Au Sable. Still have Grandpas old rod that I learned to cast on.

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I think I would have to blame some of the writers at Field & Stream magazine.  I looked at a couple of books too, as necessary,  and practiced a few times in the backyard before hitting the waters.  So--at least I knew I could cast a fly towards the water before going there.  I think it was on the first day that I "cast my baseball cap off", and I have worn a baseball cap while fly fishing ever since!   : )

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37 minutes ago, Bill_729 said:

I think I would have to blame some of the writers at Field & Stream magazine. 

Same here.  

I started fishing before I can even remember, but my dad didn't fly fish.  He did however, gift me with subscriptions to Field&Stream,  Sports Afield and Outdoor Life.  I got the idea from them that serious fishermen fished with a fly rod.  I got one for Christmas, 1963, and caught a pickerel the very next day.  I never looked back.

I broke my hand the following summer, and my parents somehow thought that if I couldn't fish, I could at least tie flies, and they got me a tying kit from Herter's.  I can tell you, learning to tie with one hand in cast is a real handicap!

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1962, 14 years old, my mother signed me up for a YMCA fly tying class in SoCal. Run by the gurus of the Pasadena Casting Club, I took to it right away. Within weeks, the casting club gents had me on their casting pond teaching me how to cast. My first rod was a 7' Wright-McGill Trailmaster, a Pflueger Medalist and some level line.  It would make a good fence post today.  My friends and I would scramble into the remote San Gabriel mountain streams and catch native coastal rainbows—rarely over 8” long. We’d clean and salt a few and cook (so to speak) on hot boulders. After a tour in Vietnam (1969) I ended up in Tacoma, Wa where I purchased my first real fly rod—a Fenwick FF70 at a Rexall Drug store. With new line (the good stuff) on that Medalist reel, I was able to ply waters throughout Western and Central Wa for a few years. Then came the clincher—I got stationed in Great Falls, MT. Needless to say, I learned a lot about fly fishing in the Montana school. I caught my first Firehole trout in 1972 on an Iron Blue Dun wet fly. I left MT in 1973 for tours around the U.S., Europe and Asia, always with my fly tying and fly rods in hand. It truly has been a lifelong passion thanks to those old gents of the Pasadena Casting Club.

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17 hours ago, cphubert said:

 old men in smoky rooms drinking coffee.

That statement sure brings back memories! 

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