We have had a few friends interested in fly fishing and in early March we were able to take these excited first timers out. Below, our friend Chris Tran gives his perspective on his first day fly fishing. We hope Chris's perspective is helpful for those of you considering trying out the sport.
There is a long snaking road in the hills of Fairfax, CA that leads to a serene lake aptly named Bon Tempe Lake (in French translates to "good times"). I’m caravanning up the road with a few friends to get the low-down on fly fishing. It was a weekday, the weather was perfect, and we seemed to have the entire lake to ourselves. No one could ask for a better day to get by the water and learn a new skill. Will I catch anything today? Will I cast a line 50ft?
Since this was the first time fly-fishing for most of the group, we relied on our instructor, Derek, to show us the ropes and to avoid sinking the hook into a human body. We start off with some lunch consisting of calzones, sandwiches, and a quick primer from Derek. We get the low-down on different casting methods, how fly-fishing is different, and what types of fish we could expect in these waters. With that knowledge, and the super quick setup on the First Cast Fly Rods we were using we were ready to go.
For the rest of the day, we pick up some rods and get some hands-on action. I let out the light blue fly line, drop the fly into the edge of the water, mentally make note of the arm motion—hinge at the elbow, forearm comes to 11 o’clock, and karate chop down—and send those signals to my arm to execute. The line makes one big wave from the beginning of the line, rides the top of water, and the fly settles 15 feet from where it started. The roll cast! I then stripped in the line to get some action to my fly. Once my fly came back towards me, it whipped the rod side to side a bit to feed some line back out, then repeated the roll cast.
Next up, we attempt the overhead cast. The line glides over my head and moves to create loops, just as the fly makes its way as far back behind me as the line would allow, I drive my arm forward and see the fly whip back toward the water. Now this is poetry in motion—simply following the fly is a meditative experience. This whole fly-fishing business was easier than I expected and incredibly peaceful. Over and over again, I cast the line, let the fly sink, take in the perfect day, and pull the line back in.
We spent the next several hours drinking beers, chatting, and walking from bank to bank casting lines out and searching for some fish.
Ultimately, no fish were biting, and I didn’t get cast a line more than 30 feet. What I did get was a beautiful day outdoors with friends and a new hobby that gives me an excuse to find some fishing holes. It was a recharge I didn’t know I needed for both the mind, body, and the soul—the connection of my body movements to the fly line, the connection with nature, and being able to let go of the stress of everyday life. All in all, it was a bon temps.
Thanks again to Chris for sharing his story - now that he has the hang of the techniques, we will search out more fishy waters for future adventures with friends!