Welcome Beginners

Part One


By Don McPherson

This begins a new series, written by a beginning fly angler about his experiences and adventures in the world of fly fishing. It is a documentary - intended to encourage other beginners. It may also revive a few memories from old fly anglers.

Today was probably the worst day I've had on the water yet. Nothing was right. I cast into the trees, I had wind knots, I lost flies, I lost fish, and I fell into the river. It was one of those days that make you wonder why you continue with this foolish pursuit. When I got home I was cold, tired and grumpy. After several minutes of complaining, my darling wife asked, "If it's such a terrible sport, why do you keep doing it?"

As I thought of an answer, I was taken back to the riverbank. What is it that keeps bringing me back to this place that so often causes unbridled frustration? It's certainly not the fact that wind never stops blowing and I can't make a good cast to save my life. Oh, but on the other hand, the cool breeze does feel good on a hot day. As I sit on the bank I can smell the grass wet with the morning dew. It seems strong, yet innocent, still untouched by my intrusion.

As I slip into the river I can feel the water around me. Is there anything as clear as a mountain stream untouched by man's hands of destruction? As I wade into the current I can feel the rocks beneath my feet, rocks that have caressed the water for millions of years. Yes, often times these rocks cause me too stumble but only when I move to fast to enjoy them. These rocks have provided a place of rest for countless fish, hiding near them, away from the endless currents.

Oh! Then there are the trees, the grand swaying trees. They have given me shelter from the rain and a place to rest myself against. All that I have given them in return are a few of my flies stuck in their branches. There are the birds that sweetly serenade me, their songs soft yet full of life.

As I cast my fly, I am engrossed in the rhythm, the gentle sway of the rod in my hand. The sound of my line slipping through the guides enchants me, so smooth yet full of energy. Is there anything as delicate as a dry fly drifting on the current? As I watch the gentle drift of my fly, I am moved by the whisper of air through the wings of the duck that has landed upstream of me. I'm not angry at his arrival for this is much more his home than mine. I have yet to feel anything that compares to the joy of a trout taking my fly. Their strength and determination will always amaze me. There is nothing so wild as the trout I hold in my hand. Its' presence in my hand moves me with a passion I have seldom felt before. How lucky am I to hold something so wild? How could I have fooled a creature whose existence is determined by its' ability to be cautious? Was it skill? Doubtful. Maybe it was pity, for I have spent many a fishless day here.

As the sun slowly hides behind the horizon, once again I am reminded how vast our world is, and how just being there, on the water, I've become a little closer to it.

So you ask why I continue to pursue this sport and I answer "Why do you?" For the reasons are different for each of us, but no less important. This is a sport of no errors. What works for me may not work for you but neither of us is wrong. Where I find joy you may find frustration. I will not give you advice on what is right and what is wrong, for you must find that yourself. I know that to be in the water surrounded by nature and all the glory it holds is right for me. Whether there is a fish on my line or not is unimportant, because I enjoy the pursuit. May you be touched by nature's hand and forever feel her strength around you. ~ Don McPherson

Previous Beginners Journal

Return to the Beginners Journal
Part 1 Reflection | Part 2 Sorting the Equipment
Part 3 The New Fly Rod | Part 4 A Little Respect
Part 5 Snapping 'em off! | Part 6 Get a Few Lessons!
Part 7 Stuff | Part 8 Tube It?
Part 9 Take a Little Time

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