View Full Version : First Strike

05-31-2015, 05:49 PM
This is a Story Within a Story

(This passage is an expansion of the moment I first saw a trout strike a fly I was fishing, as previously mentioned in my post “The Fishing Hat”.)

I was fishing what we called the “Nursing Home Hole” of the Farmington River in New Boston. My father’s fishing buddy, Barbara, was with me as we worked this large, wide and deep spot in the river.
I don’t recall where my Dad was…upstream? Working at Milhenders and thus not even present?

Barbara was a friend of my mother’s. Both women were nurses, and it was my mother who introduced Barbara to my father as a potential fishing partner: I’ve seen pictures of my mother fishing with my father….they all predate the birth of my oldest sibling, and Mom didn’t look happy in any of them. Barbara, on the other hand was a serious outdoorsman. Dad just fished, his way, Mepps spinners…retrieved about as fast as you could crank your Mitchell 300, and in streams exclusively. Barbara was an angler, much more flexible and creative in her methods. She was also a trapper, and a hunter: I remember the only time our phone ever rang before 7 am on a school day. My mother answered and Barbara told her excitedly of the deer she’d taken just at sunrise. Mom faintly praised her success, and then kinda shrugged as she passed the phone to me so that Barbara could give her news to a more receptive and interested audience. Anyway….

Barbara was slightly upstream of me and a little closer to the main pool. I was trying to reach the center seam of the flow with my dime-store fly rod and not having much success. I can still see as clear as the scene outside my window as I write: The grey and white maribou streamer I was dragging clumsily back into the shallows was suddenly attacked by a small trout of perhaps 9 inches. The fish emerged from behind the rock Barbara was standing on, hit the streamer firmly without hooking itself, then turned hard left and headed out to the depths of the Nursing Home Hole, never to be seen again.

Barbara hadn’t seen the strike, but seemed to believe my account. She also sensed somehow that I felt a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity had just slipped my grasp. I was a 10 year old boy who had fished an entire season with Barbara and my father without detecting a strike, let alone catching a trout.

“Walter, there will be many other fish. Thousands of them. Don’t forget this one: What you did right, and what you may have done wrong. You’ll figure it out.”

I’ve played soccer, basketball and baseball right up until my senior year in High School. I can’t recall the contents of a single pep talk from any of my coaches.

I’ll never forget what Barbara said to me that morning,
or how much better it made me feel,
like I was at the start of wonderful journey

06-01-2015, 08:04 AM
Real fishermen remember these things, and they sustain us on those days when we do not catch some of those thousands to come.

06-02-2015, 11:26 PM
A great read Wallyran. took me right back to my first encounter and the joy bof getting it right. Thanks!

06-03-2015, 03:30 AM
I can still picture my first trout.....such a concentrated happy image burnt into my memory.
Thanks for sharing, Wallyran.

06-04-2015, 11:43 AM
lessons learned and friendships made on the water are never forgotten, Mems

11-30-2016, 10:36 AM
Thank you all!

I'd love to read your stories of first trip/strike/fish if you'd care to oblige.