Beginning a Fly Fishing Journey

I remember my first visual experience in fly fishing; it was on the White Rocks River in Utah. A man was standing in the middle of the river, a fishing pole in hand. He was swinging the pole back and forth wildly in the air with a thick colored cord following his every movement. Suddenly these movements stopped and the cord fell to the water. He watched it contently as it floated on the waters surface. Then he would lift the pole and start the process all over again. After a few minutes of observing this unnatural site the water boiled with a splash, his pole bent, the cord straight as an arrows path connected to a point of chaos on the water.  A fish, he caught a fish, there seemed to be chaos at both ends of the cord now, I thought for a moment his reel was broken. He was pulling and dropping, pulling and dropping this thick cord as his pole bounced back and forth against splashes on the water. As this struggle continued I was laughing at the tug of war I was seeing, who would win, man or fish? Soon the battle ended, and he scooped the fish into a net. It looked as though he was talking to the fish as he lifted it from his net, and let it slip back into the river.

As a kid growing up in the vast expanse of Kansas. A fishing tradition for me was digging up a coffee can full of worms, grabbing Grandpa’s cane pole, some cord from Grandma’s sewing room, tying on a hook, a big red and white bobber and heading to the pond. Later Dad bought my brother’s and me fishing poles with spinning reels and several shinny lures. This gave young boys something to do rather than just waiting for that red and white bobber to disappear into the water.

As I continued watching this unusual activity I noticed how graceful it appeared. His every movement seemed connected to the river he was standing in, the cord he cast unrolled in the air landing as gently as rain on the water, it all seemed surreal like I was watching a slow motion dance.  As I watched this man continue around the bend of the river, time just disappeared, in what seemed like minutes had turned into an hour. I threw my spinner out in the water for awhile thinking about what I had just experienced. As I was getting ready to leave, this man walked out of the willows and said hi. I told him I enjoyed watching him, as I had never seen any one fish that way. As we talked he spoke in a different language than I was used to hearing. He called his pole a rod, and the cord was called a fly line, to it was attached a leader then tippet, then a fly that looked like a big grasshopper but it wasn’t a live one. He was dressed in funny baggy pants, big boots and had a vest with lots of pockets on it, and these were filled with all sorts of items. He showed me several boxes that were filled with what he called flies, which I thought looked like a bunch of bugs. He said these are what the fish like to eat, you can see them flying around by the river.  We talked a little while longer then departed ways. I never saw him again but he had planted a seed that would bring an unexpected and profound joy to my life. My fly fishing journey had just begun.

It was a few months later when I spotted a fly rod, reel, and fly line at a yard sale for $35.00.  I thought of the day I watched that man fly fishing so I bought the rod along with a box of flies sitting next to it on the table. The next day I headed to the river with great expectations only to find I had no idea of how to get started. I struggled through the tangles, plucking flies out of bushes, myself, and slipping on the rocks trying not to fall in, all the while swinging the rod around like someone swatting flies, another fly fishing term I would later come to know as a “water swatter”.  I soon realized there was more to this fly fishing than meets the eye. But where do I start…fly fishing magazines, and books were the only resource at the time so I began reading everything I could get my hands on. Like many others getting started, I was helped along the way by other angler’s, written materials, and a lot of self discovery. Today’s beginning fly fishers have unlimited resources to help them on this wonderful journey. Still, one needs a home base to start from, so I would like to invite you on a Fly Fishing Adventure with

In the following posts we will help you lay out a road map to begin your journey.  We’ll help you gain an understanding of the equipment, how to select the right gear, and develop basic casting techniques to get started. “Your Fly Fishing Journey Begins Here”. We hope you will join us.


What’s next?      “How to Select a Fly Rod”     Don’t miss another post.     Sign up for our Newsletter 



1 Comment

  • Carolee Griggs Posted April 5, 2017 3:30 am

    Enjoyed hearing how you were drawn into fly fishing Michael.

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