This weekend I attended a flyfishing workshop put on by New Hampshire Fish and Game.
Ten lucky people got picked. We were taken from the Hike Safe card mailing list – a hike safe card is essentially NH insurance so that *if* you need to be rescued while hiking and *if* you have the card *then* you won’t be charged for the cost of the rescue.
I had applied for card last summer in advance of Griffin and my walk from the New Hampshire/Canadian border to the New Hampshire/Massachusetts border – I figured that you could never be too safe right? A rescue is a rescue even if it’s on the side of the road.
Because I had done that, I was one of the lucky ones to be invited.
I had done some flyfishing when I was young and one evening well after dusk had arrived, I cast my line and when I felt a tug reeled it in to discover that I had hooked a bat that had been flying over our heads.
That was the last time I had gone flyfishing.
But what the heck, I’m game for a new experience.
So I said yes.
The fishing workshop started on Friday night. Five instructors for ten people, many of the instructors volunteers – all doing it because they love the sport. After a brief overview of the workshop we left for our tents (in my case I slept in my car and when it POURED early, early in the morning. Although I was cramped in my car, I was dry.)
Saturday morning, we learned about the rods. We put them together.
Then we took them apart.
Then we put them back together.
About 6 times. Until we could almost do it with our eyes shut. Because that was the point – you have to feel comfortable with the equipment.
We learned the double surgeon knot for tying on the tippet.
We learned the knot for tying on the fly. (I forget the name but I know it was modified with two loops.)
At that point it started to pour again so we moved under a tarp to learn the difference between brown trout and yellow perch.
We were shown different flies and was told when to use them. The lighter ones stayed on the top of the water, you used them near shade and edges. The larger ones sunk, you used them in open water.
We did all that in the morning,
After lunch we drove to a nearby lake and put wading boots, flippers, and PFDs on and then we got into our float tubes and started fishing.
I went from having never put a rod together to catching the first fish of the weekend, in one day.
It. Was. Amazing.
That evening we had a community dinner. Chicken kabobs, steak tips, salads, fruit, wine, beer – all around a campfire, tucked in by the White Mountains. This is one of the reasons why I live in New Hampshire.
Sunday morning, we met at the bottom of a secluded trail. The plan was to hike up a path (roughly 1.7 miles) WEARING our flotation device, rods, waders, and flippers ON OUR BACKS (about 35 pounds) as we climbed the side of a mountain to get to a remote pond.
The fact that I was able to carry my load and bring it up the mountain (and back down again) by *myself* was something I was just as proud about as catching that first fish (it was released.) Sure I was the last one up there and the last one back down. BUT I DID IT.
We all floated for hours on the water, casting our lines, soaking in the sun, paddling over to that spot right over there because we thought we saw the water break.
It was an amazing experience, with a fantastic group of people. Definitely something to write home about.
Will I go fishing again? You betcha! (I just need to take part II – what to do with the fish once you take it off the hook.) Now I just need to find a rod and a quiet pond (but maybe not on top of a mountain.)
And will I take more courses put on by New Hampshire Fish and Game?
In a heartbeat, I will.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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