This year's second-place winner is James, who attend TU camp this past summer in New Hampshire. James reminds us of all the reasons we fly fish. Thank you, James, for sharing your story.
Camp: NH Kids Trout Camp
TU Chapter: Basil W. Woods
Favorite River: My favorite river is the CT. River and below Murphy's Dam near Pittsburg, NH.
If you go to Boston, Manhattan or Los Angeles the traffic system or crowds of noisy people might overwhelm and stress you. What you need is a relaxing time out in free nature. Maybe you will take a friend or family member up to a healthy flowing river near a little town to spend some quality time together. This would be a wonderful way to breathe out the stress of life and breath in the quiet beauty of God's nature. You could cast into swirling eddies inhabited by large fish. After a while you may find there is a something on your line. There is excitement on having anything on your line, but this would be the real excitement and realization that you may have caught a twenty- inch fish.
I had an awesome experience similar to this. After my own stressful year, I was able to go to a Trout Unlimited Fly Fishing Camp, where I had the privilege of meeting some extraordinary people who had a true passion for fishing. They taught me how tremendous fly fishing is. It is peaceful and exciting all at once. Peaceful, because it is quiet and a time to really connect with your inner self. Exciting, when a fish is on the line and you must decide to let it run with the line or reel it in.
As students of this fly fishing camp, we were each given a wooden box with a fly tying kit inside. We were taught how to tie flies which imitated a caddis, stonefly or mayfly. We were also given the option to tie something out of our imaginations that might attract fish. I felt that I had tied some pretty cool looking flies. At first fly tying was hard because I had to work with such small tools, however I soon got the hang of it, and have even tied some flies since camp. Fly tying has turned out to be a very rewarding experience because I started to figure it all out, and the flies turned out great! We learned that with every river, and at different times of day, there will be different flies needed, so we would need to change the fly. To do that, we needed to cut the line, and use a surgeon's knot to attach another fly. I can assure you that I have used that knot in several other situations.
When it came to the rod and reel, the counselors wasted no time pairing me with my rod. I was excited to receive gear of my very own, and I will take good care of it. Trout camp showed me how to prepare my rod for a river and how to put it away. I learned about backing the fly line, the leader, and the tippet. The minute I was given my rod, I knew it would be special as my first fly rod. That was the same feeling with my reel and the fly tying kit. It seemed like our gifts of gear were endless! It felt good to be using my own equipment on the river. One of the counselors brought in some of the gear he had collected over the years. It was exciting to see some rods and reels dating back to 1700s.
Casting was new to my arm, but the counselors showed me the 10 and 2 approach to casting. At first I did not know what I was doing, but neither did anyone else. The counselors worked with me, and soon I feel I became in tune with casting, and the rod became an extension of my arm. Like in the movie, A River Runs Through It, which we watched since I returned from camp, the casting had the rhythm of a peaceful metronome; back and forth, back and forth. The feeling was awkward at first, then easier, and finally I grew to like it.
Standing in a rushing river with waders on is one of the most peculiar sensations that I have ever encountered. To picture how it felt, imagine your hand in a latex glove under a large sink faucet. Then imagine that feeling on the entire lower half of your body. Plus, when you pick up your feet, they will want to float away! Waders are almost as much fun as fishing itself.
When I am fishing, I try to imagine what a fish would think as he swims with little effort in the river, looking for eddies to relax in. After a tough day in school I intend to let the music of the river- soft, quiet, yet steady- calm me down, and then I go fly fishing.