I think it was around 1990 when I purchased my first fly rod at a garage sale for five bucks. Wasn't sure what to do with it at first. I learned to fish with it on lakes chasing sunfish, bass, and pike. Flash forward to 2003, I caught my first trout. Most of the credit for that goes to my friend Ben Hinz. His passion and stories inspired me to try out this trout thing. One day we met on the river and he talked me through every cast until it happened...I caught my first trout, a couple of brookies and a brown trout.
I bring this up because I remember how excited I was to actually catch a trout, and I remember how excited Ben was for me. Today I got the opportunity to be in Ben's shoes. I went fishing with my wife, ans she caught her first trout. She was so giddy, and I was so full of excitement for her that you'd a thought it was me catching my first trout all over again.
The trip started out as an exploratory mission to find some spots to fish that are more accessible and very easy to walk compared to my normal spots. The reasoning being that I have plans to take my dad out fishing next weekend and want things to go well.
We left early this morning and headed to my buddy Josh's house as he had a couple of place in mind for my mission. Josh showed us a few places on a map and then we followed him to a couple of nice picks that I think will do very nicely. We chatted afterwards for a bit and then he headed back home and we "wadered up." Jen has a pair of waders that are on loan from Jackie as she had an extra pair she borrowed when we tried to get her on trout one evening last year.
We rigged our rods up at the truck, I put on my fly vest, had a couple of last minute swigs of Mountain Dew and we headed down to the river. My predictions were that we'd be out there for four hours or so and only catch one fish and Jen would be board. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. We spent about five hours on the river, had lots of fun, and Jen caught her first trout. Six of them actually. Five rainbows and one brown.
She landed the first trout of the day with in a dozen casts using one of my favorite wet fly patterns on my old Redington 2-piece 5-weight rod. It was nice eight inch rainbow, that tolerated our celebratory "grip and grin" photos. That was Awesome! Her next fish, the one and only brown for the day, was caught shortly after around the bend after Jen missed several strikes and takes. The rest of the day just kinda flowed. I gave her some direction and suggestions, she listened and executed perfectly. Her catches were mostly in the six to eight range, with one ten incher in the mix.
There was a point where the wind was just getting too challenging to cast for her, and I wasn't fishing as I had planned this to out to be "Jen's day" on the river so we decided to head back. The walk back was nice, the weather was pretty good for normal people (mid 70's and cloudless skies - YUCK!).
After getting out of our waders we had a late lunch at a typical local WI bar, which I love. Jen was very proud of her accomplishments of the day, and I proud of her too. We followed up lunch with scouting out a few spots on a couple of other rivers and chatting with some locals on the river. It was a good day on the river.