I did it. I caught my first fish while fly fishing. On my first day none-the-less. I’m pretty proud of myself, but I do have to give it to Mark, my guide that helped me learn how to cast and where and what is the best for catching fish.
The trip took us to West Virginia, to Harman’s North Fork Cottages. The area is amazing. It’s a private part of the river that is stocked by Harmans. (How do you stock a river, you ask? Apparently, the fish are very territorial and, as soon as they pick a spot, they’ll stay there. They don’t really swim all the way downstream to the end. I had to ask.)
The cottages were amazing. I literally wanted mine for my house. They’re log cabins with full kitchens and lofts, with fire places (basically my dream). They also come with hot tubs. Good info for the next trip.
The first day, it was gorgeous outside and I focused on getting my form down and learning the basic HOWS of fly fishing. How to through the line (not the lure, which doesn’t have enough weight). How to reel the line back in. How much line to let out. How to work with the current. How to hook a fish. How to NOT hook someone else or a tree when throwing the line (I failed on both parts). It was definitely a different way of fishing, but I felt more involved than just putting a worm on a lure and waiting.
And then it happened. Just before lunch, I caught my fish. It was a decently sized rainbow trout. I was just excited that I caught a fish at all. And I look hot in my waders.
After lunch, I didn’t catch much. It started sprinkling. Then raining. Then down-pouring with crazy winds. I tried to stay in, but I couldn’t even cast into the wind and I was freezing, so we ended that day. We all hung out and tied some flies after dinner. I was exhausted after a day out in the sun and the river.
The next day, after a yummy breakfast, I hit the water again. It was not as nice out. It had snowed overnight and dropped at least 20 degrees. I put on about 4 layers on my top and bottom. And a hat, scarf, and gloves. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any bites or nibbles. My guides taught me a little more, including some different casts. After the snow started coming down, I went in for lunch.
Fortunately, lunch and dinner were catered by Bigg Riggs Farm. He’s a veteran Marine and now owns a farm in West Virginia, produces great produce, amazing sauces, and now caters. It was DE-LIC-IOUS. Lunch had pulled pork, twice baked potatoes and cole slaw. Dinner had smoked rabbit, chicken wings, mac and cheese and more cole slaw. We were spoiled.
I didn’t end up going out after the morning. I was cold and kind of fished-out. I hung out in front of the fire place and warmed up while snacking on some yummy 7-layer dip. Other did manage to catch some fish.
Overall, I can’t wait to go back out and catch another fish. I’d like it to be warmer the next time, so I can feel my fingers. But my first experience was great.