Aspiring Renaissance Man
I have always been driven to get into anything I do, whole-assed, the antithesis to half-assed. As I explored the world, this meant diving deep and swimming wide in a huge number of pools.
I can weld, saddle and ride a horse, build fine furniture, frame a house, drive anything with tires, row a drift boat, run a trolling motor, backward drive a trailer, lay brick, landscape design, do electrical work, hang drywall, make fire, survive in the wilderness, pitmaster, hunt for anything with a bow, rifle, shotgun, slingshot or whatever you got. Reload my own ammo, run a trotline, blow a duck call, train a hunting dog, brew beer, grow crops, write a business plan, manage projects, build a website, graphic design and manage a business.
I had a firm grasp on all things I was into until I hit the world of fishing and, specifically, fly fishing. This subject is so deep and wide that I will never get a glimpse the bottom or edges. It is physical, cerebral, rewarding, easy, frustrating and fun. Sometimes all of that in a matter of a few minutes. Once you “figure out” one aspect, you realize you are lacking in another. To make the interesting even more interesting, bring tying your own flies to the equation and you add an entomological-based craft that may never allow you to solve for the “X” in the fly fishing equation, no matter how hard you study or how long you live.
I found my first fly rod in a sinkhole behind my new-to-me house in Bluff City, TN in 1984. The previous owners dumped a bunch of stuff from the house they didn’t want in there on the way out. It was an orange, fiberglass buggy whip with an automatic reel complete with fly line. I fished the original line for years and only used an 8lb section of monofilament fishing line that served as leader and tippet. My first fish of any size came while practicing casting at a boat dock with a popper. I laid the line out beside a gangway and let it sit. I saw a bass slowly emerge from the depths, pause just under my popper, and then suddenly and violently attack it. The fight was very brief. I broke the fish off on all the structures under the dock but still replay that moment in time of the take in my mind over and over again.
That started a quest for knowledge and more fishing that has taken me to streams, rivers, lakes and ponds over the lower 48, Alaska and Canada for a variety of fish species over the years.
I am fortunate enough to live within a few minutes’ drive to both the South Holston and Watauga rivers at the base of the Appalachian Mountains in East Tennessee. . The watershed contains lots of small lake and stream fishing opportunities in Tennessee and just over the border in North Carolina. This translates to lots of “blue” on the map and endless places to fish, hunt, camp and explore.
Staying true to my character, I am likely to respond to “Do you want to catch carp with a coat hanger and kite string tomorrow?” with, “what time should I meet you?”. However, there is something special about fly fishing that has taken hold and won’t let go.
I hope my passion, experience and informed opinion show in these writings and provide those, at any and all levels that have a similar interest, a shorter path forward, interesting insight and/or something new.