Sunday, April 6, 2008

I Have My Father To Thank

If you ask any angler why they fly fish, you will get as many different answers as anglers. For me, there were two main reasons. The first was simple. On many trips to Governors lake at 9 or 10 years old, i cast my spinning rod without result while the older guys caught fish after fish on their fly rods. That's reason enough. The main thing that changed it was a particular event, on a lake called Baker's Lake, in a 12 foot aluminum boat tight to the shore with my father. I was 11 years old, it was 1976.

He tied a rubber minnow on my line, with two treble hooks, and got me to cast it at the mouth of an incoming stream on the north side of the lake. I had two brookies, and lost a third, within 15 minutes. During the excitement i tried to throw another cast. My rod fetched up behind me. I gave it two sharp tugs. There was no give, but a strange sound followed each tug. I gave one more tug as i turned my head to see what bush i had caught with my new best lure.

There was no bush, no tree, no side of the boat, and no clothing in the way of my lure. There was only my fathers face, with a rubber minnow embedded in his cheek. Two of the three points on the treble hook were completely through his cheek and into his mouth. It was likely the best hookset i had made in the first 11 years of life. My uncle was 20 feet away in another boat, and he was as pale as a ghost. He grabbed my rod and quickly cut the line off at the eye of the rubber minnow, and we rowed back to his camp. In the camp he performed backwoods surgery, cutting the two hooks at the bend, inside my fathers mouth, and then retracting them back through his cheek. Within 30 minutes, it was almost like it never happened. That was until he ate his lunch, with an orange for a snack. His mouth burned for another 30 minutes.

Overall, we had a great trip. Two days, a lot of fish, and my Dads cheek. The drive home was quiet. We pulled in the driveway after dark. Before we got out he asked me if i had a good time. Of course i did, and told him so. "I think we should get you a fly rod", he said. He never said why, but i know he was thinking that a fly rod won't take a treble hook, and so neither would his cheek. It has been 31 years of fly fishing and counting, and i owe my start to my father, a rubber minnow, and an orange.


Jack said...
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Jack said...

I loved this story. I think every angler has a story to tell about their earliest fishing memories as a child.

Your doing great... keep up the great posts!