Informal Introduction

Good morning, afternoon, evening, or whatever time it may be when/if you read this.

My name is Travis Engh. I was a member of the armed forces for 13 years and a very busy individual up until December of 2017. I had devoted my life to the military and was planning on staying in until I could retire or until they wouldn't keep me anymore. However, I came home from Iraq in November of 2016 and developed several blood clots in my right leg. After some extensive tests and a ton of paperwork, I discovered that I have a genetic blood clotting disorder. Long story short, I could no longer serve my country.

I spent the better part of 2017 trying to figure out who I am and what I was going to do in the "real world." I decided to go back to school as a psychology major. This has always been an interest to me and I have also become extremely bullheaded when it comes to working for someone else. At this point in my life l feel that I have done my part and it is time for me to do something for myself for once. You can attribute this to the typical millenial mindset of not following through with anything and quitting when the going gets tough, which it very well may be. However, after 13 years of taking care of soliders and my most recent venture of becoming a father of two wonderful kids (a 4 year old son and 2 year old daughter) I want to do a little something for myself while at the same time supporting my family. What better way to do that than to use my benefits and get paid to go back to school?

Throughout this rediscovery period in my life I also discovered that my son is absolutely bonkers about fishing. It's all he thinks about day in and day out. He never stops talking about what fish he wants to catch, how we can do it, where we can go, etc. At first this was kind of annoying to me and I don't understand why. I missed a year of his life and I was doing everything I could to catch up. I took him fishing every single day after I came home from a job that I hated. We would catch bluegills, the occasional bass, and some perch. Simple, but action packed for that little monster. It didn't take long before he started to cast by himself. Then he was baiting the hook himself. Eventually, he took off his first bluegill all by himself. I felt an extremely weird feeling of pride and happiness. In fact, I was astonished. He was 3 years old, going on 4.

We decided to do our first family camping trip at a park close to our house. It was part of the lake and streams we had fished every single day that year and it was close to our home. Later in the evening I caught a small brown trout. My son was exstatic. He was absolutely bursting with excitement. This 6 or 8 inch trout, along with my son's bubbling enthusiasm, brought with it memories of a past life of mine. I had either forgotten or hidden these memories somewhere in the depths of my mind. My entire childhood was spent fishing, mainly for brown, brook, and the occasional rainbow trout. This is who I am. From that point on, I remembered my love of these fish and how I had always wanted to learn how to fly fish, but never really got around to it.

I've spent the entirety of this year learning about Tenkara. This is a simplified version of fly fishing. An ancient Japanese method involving a rod, line, and flies. It becomes even more simple when you get into the philosophy. The fly doesn't matter. You can use one fly or basically whatever fly you want. If you don't catch a fish, even if they are rising, you simply move on. I have become obsessed with this. I have used one type of lure my entire life. A panther martin french spinner with a gold body and some orange tailing in varying sizes. I can't explain to you the number of trout I have caught with this throughout my life or their varying sizes. Naturally, this fit me. Not to mention it is so simple a child can learn it in a matter of minutes. Needless to say, I will begin my Tenkara adventure in May of this year. I can't wait to talk about it all on here and on a blog I am in the progress of creating. I also look forward to teaching my son this method. As you can imagine, he is extremely excited.

I know that's kind of a lengthy introduction and a bit of a story. It might even be a small plug for Tenkara, but for me this is my tool to get into fly fishing. I do plan on learning more about the marvelous entemology involved in fly fishing, as well as purchasing a fly rod at some point. However, I feel this is an amazing start and an amazing way for me to start over as well.

I want to close this short article out by thanking everyone in the TU community for everything you are doing. I also want to apologize for finally getting into it in my early 30's, but I am going to do my best to make up for it. Becoming an advocate for our waters and the health of our environment has given me meaning and something else to be thankful for every single day. Thank you for everything! I look forward to meeting new friends and I am beyond excited about this new adventure in life!

Comments

 
said on Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

Welcome aboard, Travis!

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said on Monday, April 9th, 2018

Thank you for sharing your story- looking forward to hearing more of your life travels through flyfishing-

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said on Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

thank you for the story. i am 70 and starting to get my 4 year old intrduced to fishing. recently took him to walhalla fish hatchery to see the trout being produced for our mountain streams here in south carolina. fishing is the best way to get our youth to love and appreciate nature and a healthy lifestyle. tight lines and thanks again for your inspiring comments.tony mcalister

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said on Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Before I sit down and take my second to last math test for the semester, I wanted to thank you all for your comments. They mean the world to me. It is so good to hear that my, what I would consider semi-amateur, writing can be read and appreciated. I can't thank you guys enough. I am planning on posting more as the season kicks off. I sure hope to get a blog rolling at some point, but if I don't I will continue to make my posts on TU. I wish this site would notify me when comments are made on my posts. Then I would be able to keep in touch with everyone at a much more speedy pace. But, in the words of Mick Jagger, "You can't always get what you want." Take care everyone.

With love from the stream,

Travis Engh

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