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Getting Hooked on Fly Fishing

Getting Hooked on Fly Fishing

The Little Brookie that Flew - A Fly Fishing Story by Hannah Dreesbach

I was in elementary school when my father first put a fly rod in my hand. We were in the Tizer Basin, walking a small, tumbling stream pock-marked by boulders. It was the sort of place that would leave any kid itching to explore. Fallen logs became bridges across deep holes. Crowded fir trees created pockets of shadow that hid lichen-covered stones and half-decayed stumps. I could have spent the entire day roaming the woods, inventing games beneath the shade of the trees. But my dad had brought me there to fish, and so I resigned myself to the tedious task of casting a bright little dry into the water over and over again.

I didn't think much about line placement or where the fish might actually be, even though I’m sure my dad offered wisdom on both of these subjects. For the most part, I tried to copy his movements (after all, he was actually catching fish). More often than not, I wound up with my line wrapped around an overhanging willow or snagged on a limb. The day, it seemed, was destined to be frustratingly fishless.

I suppose Mother Nature took pity on me: between snags, I managed to hook a single brookie—so small I didn't even feel it on the end of my line. When I went to recast, it sailed out of the water, past my head, and back in—unhooking itself in the process. I let out a shout. I’d caught a fish! I was a real fly fisherman, just like my dad.

It was a small moment in the scheme of things, but looking back, years later, I can’t help but smile. These days, I look forward to afternoons on the water, fly rod in hand, exploring the twists and turns of the river. I have my dad to thank for that. My dad and one tiny, miraculous brookie.

Hannah Dreesbach Readies for a Day of Fly Fishing
Hannah Dreesbach enjoys a quiet moment before a day of fly fishing. 

Questions? Comments? A story of your own first time on the water? Share in the comments below!

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