It all started with a simple request, "Dad on Sunday can we go to the zoo?" My daughter was asking, but I already had plans to do a bit of fly fishing. "I can fish with you" she said, "I can even help you catch the flies!" I chuckled a bit at the last statement and explained to her that I already had the flies. She honestly had no idea what fly fishing was or how it differed from the kind of fishing she had done with me in the past. All she wanted to do was visit the zoo and dad was her best chance of getting there.
I rarely get the opportunity to fish with my children. Unfortunately, I burned them out at a young age by making them go fishing with me. Every once in awhile though, they ask if they can come. I absolutely live for these little moments with them. Even if they might have had other reasons for initially wanting to tag along.
When we arrived at the parking lot I went about setting up the rods. I tried to explain how the gear works, but she had no interest. She could hear the lions roaring in the distance. I showed her how the 5 weight St Croix rod went together. Explained the differences in lines, tippets, knots, and flies. Occasionally she even looked over at me while I was talking, but it's hard to focus when you can see the zoos carousel. When I had everything ready to go we made our way down the worn dirt path in front of the lake. I was carefully scanning the water, she wanted to know if I thought we could get some ice cream.
|The two handed whip cast.|
I picked a promising spot and asked her if she wanted to make the first cast. "Sure, I guess...how?" It finally occurred to her that the rod she was holding wasn't like the other poles she had fished with before. I did my best to explain, again, how the whole fly fishing thing worked. It took her a little bit to get the hang of casting. She kept trying to "Snap the Whip" with the rod. "Easy, this is a delicate kind of fishing" I told her. "Every time you smack that line against the water a poor little fish has a heart attack." She thought that was pretty funny and started to make an effort to slow down. I didn't worry her with the specifics anglers like to use to over complicate fly fishing. I just showed her how to watch her back cast and let her loose on the bluegills in the shallows.
|One of Lake Wingras finest little fighters.|
She was having fun casting that little Pepto fly (thanks Tristan) when all of a sudden the rod loaded up. The look on her face will forever be burned into my memory. "I got one!" she yelled, "I watched him eat it!" True to form she mocked me a bit as she reeled yelling "Fish On, Fish On" in River Monsters fashion. She was ecstatic, and I was sure proud of my little lady. Finally getting the bluegill to the bank she triumphantly raised it in the air and said, "I'm not taking this thing off the hook." She stared me right me in the eye as she said it, so I jumped up and promptly removed the fish. It turned out to be a great afternoon full of little fish, big laughs, and the occasional tangled leader.
|It is always fun to ride the carousel.|