Like most days when I get a chance to head to Virginia to do some fishing this one started out with the alarming going off at 0330. While stammering around looking for the remaining gear to toss in the truck, barely able to keep my eyes open from the lack of sleep, the thought of crawling back into bed crossed my mind. Not because I didn’t want to go fishing, but simply because sleep was becoming more and more valuable. After all, this was my fourth day in a row of being up while the clock was still in the 0300 hour. But today was going to be little different from my other trips to Virginia. Well not a little, a lot different actually. This day would be the first day I was headed out to exclusively introduce someone to fly fishing without actually getting to fish myself. Having finished getting dressed and gathering gear I headed out the door to load up the truck. My first breath of the cool morning made me pause in my tracks. It is going to be a great day of fishing I thought to myself. Still standing there taking in the cool start to the day I thought about how excited I was the first time I went fly fishing. Realizing there were two people that were having those same feelings this morning made me realize sleep is highly overrated, we have fish to catch!
In my stammer I didn’t bother to make coffee as I knew I’d be passing Starbucks on my way to the shop. But of course, like every other time I stop this early, Starbucks was still closed. They should really reconsider their hours. I was safe though, I knew Dave would need to stop for coffee too. Arriving at Casters Fly Shop I discovered that I was the last of the four to arrive. The two that were fishing, Julie and Corey appeared to be eager to hit the road. After a brief stop at Starbucks from a cup of java we hit highway 321 north towards Boone. With only an hour left in the trip the pre-cast briefing started, do this don’t do that type of thing. While it sounds easy without a rod in your hand putting it to practice your first time isn’t so easy.
Arriving at the waters edge I could sense the excitement of the lucky two that for one would soon try his hand at fly fishing for the first time and for the other face trout the size of the ones in Big Cedar. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for them to get geared up and headed to the water. My first observation of the water was low, slow, and gin clear. This may not be the best of combinations for first timers.
Didn’t take long before the trout showed their lack of concern for the water conditions.
Corey, who happens to be the engineering brains behind MooseKnuckle Lanyards Universal Tippet Caddy ™, was not to be outdone. He hooked up with his first fish on a fly rod soon after.
They continued to catch fish all morning until they worked up a good appetite. The fish ranged from two to three pounds and Corey hooked a couple that would have likely went five or six, but instead landing them he learned to very valuable lessons. First, know how much further you can reel before the leaders enters the first guide. If you reel the leader into the first guide and the fish runs it is likely never to be seen again. Well maybe not that extreme, but the chance of the fish breaking off increases ten fold. Secondly, if you get a big fish on and it runs, stay off the reel. Right Corey? So much as a mere brush up against the reel could create plenty of drag to allow the fish to break off, especially if the reel is singing. As always, Dave put on an amazing stream side lunch that would make most five star chefs envious.
Fishing was even better following lunch with one hole producing easily ten to fifteen fish between the two. Julie’s confidence using Squirmy Wormie was to the point she was pointing out fish in the pool that she specifically wanted to catch.
With all the fish being landed Corey and Julie were compelled to show their gratitude with a planting of the lips.
At the end of the day I realized why guides guide. Fueling the excitement of Corey and Julie by hooking them up with fish was enough to make me want to do it all over again soon.