Fly fishing adventures

There’s nothing better than being on the Smith River during the fall season to see the sunset, hang out with friends, and learn the basics of fly fishing.

This time of year can be a little chilly, but being in the cold air and water is well worth the experience. The fall foliage provides beautiful scenery for a relaxing evening of fishing. It was not only my first fly fishing, but also my first official fishing in general.

We started on the grass and I learned to throw. After listening to instructions and watching a demonstration, I quickly made all the mistakes I could have made like I hadn’t been taught a single thing, but eventually I did well enough that we descended to River.

All dressed in waders and boots, I was ready to brave the cold water temperatures and confident that I wouldn’t get wet just standing in the river to fish.

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The first one thrown in the water when I was just beginning to orient myself a fish immediately bit the nymph (the little insect-like attachment on the hook) and because I was unprepared the fish fled and took the nymph with him.

My ever patient teacher, Brian Williams, then tied up another nymph for me to start over.

This time I was able to practice a few throws before disaster struck again. I practiced the techniques I had learned on land and cast further and further into the river, letting the line out a little more each time. Then, on one of my casts, as I was pulling the line out of the water, I got stuck in the tree behind me.

The nymph broke away from the branch and was too tall to be retrieved. Once again another nymph was tied on the line and at this point I felt like a complete failure. I was assured that I would not believe the number of nymphs stuck in the trees at Smith’s River.

After a few more casts I finally managed to catch a fish on the line, but as I was rewinding it and it was right in front of me I lifted it out of the water and the fish was able to flop its away from the hook and back into the water.

It was the closest I’ve come to catching a fish on this particular occasion, but next time I’m determined to catch one and get the first traditional fish catching photo my friend Anna Wheeler has been able to take . Anna is a more experienced fly fisherman than me, but still a little new to the sport and she was able to catch a few fish.

One challenge I didn’t expect was being able to see the indicator (or bobber) that sits on the water and indicates when a fish has bitten the nymph. My eyes, which were already using glasses to see better, were getting worse and worse as they grew darker as time went on.

Overall it was a spectacular experience and this traditionally male dominated sport has a new member because I am determined to catch this fish next time. The challenge of placing the nymph in the right place was enough to get me interested in learning all the different techniques that can be used.

Having made just about every mistake in the book, I’m willing to come back to them next time and avoid repeating them. In my opinion, and based on my recent experience, anyone who is hesitant to try fly fishing for whatever reason should take every chance they have to give it a try.

And even if you end up not totally enjoying the fishing aspect, you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery that is nature around a river and maybe also take some cool action shots, just do be careful to take a stable footing in the river so as not to end up swimming spontaneously.

Monique Holland is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. She can be reached at [email protected] or 276-734-9603.

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