Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fly Fishing Day

The thing I fear about this blog update is that when women see it they will sign off. I hope not, because it is a look into the heart of men.

A few months ago I made a promise to a man I met. Since then he and I have become friends, and he’s just a great guy, one who anybody would be proud to call friend. The promise was that I would take him and his two sons out and show them what fly-fishing is all about.

I’ve been waving a fly rod in the air for forty plus years, and it is one of the great joys of my life. As a boy my father gave me my first fly rod, and I’ve waded cold and warm water streams since. Smarter men have said it, and I believe it, that in the heart of men is the need for an adventure. We still want to see what’s over the next hill, still want to fight the dragon, and still want to save the beauty. Our world has watered that down, and we have let it fly away like smoke on a morning breeze. God has put it in our hearts for thousands of years. Fly-fishing is my adventure, and it is a special time to recharge and listen to the whisper of the wonders of God.

I live within ten miles of a handful of wonderful cold water streams, that hold rainbow and brown trout that test the skill of any fisherman, and quicken the heart. Why wouldn’t I want to share this with others?

So, last Saturday my friend and his two sons met me, and we headed for a spot on a North Georgia River. After a few minutes of talking and some instructions I put the three of them on a grassy area, and they practiced casting for a while. Then I tied on my favorite flies, and herded them into the water. I was pretty busy. The boys, fifteen and sixteen were doing well, but I have a suspicion they doubted there were any fish there, that is until the sixteen year old caught the first fish. A beautiful ten inch rainbow. Then they all realized this fly fishing thing was pretty cool. My friend took to it like he had been doing it for years, and I could see his steady movement as I helped the boys. The fifteen year old caught a nice rainbow, and I couldn’t have gotten them out of the water with dynamite. By the end of the morning everybody had caught fish, and gently released them back into the cool water, and the smiles told the story of men hooked on a new adventure.

There are so many things men can pass on to others, and sometimes those things are more about our dark side. I’d like to see us return to teaching the honorable ways men should act and live, but maybe I’m just an old guy dreaming dreams.

I don’t know what these boys want to be when they grow up, but I know one thing, on a warm day in June they joined a society of men called Fly Fishers, and it is a blessing that I was there to share the time with them.

The Best Days

After the leaves have turned and just before the cold rain that brings them down there are special days. A time of trout. The water is cool and clear as it swirls around my knees. The woods are damp in the mornings and I can smell the bear that walked this path earlier. The fly line makes a sound in the crisp morning air like silk upon silk, and the fly lands softly in the reflected sky. Trout fight harder and are cool in the hand as they slip back into the liquid glass of the still pools. It is a time that calms the heart and renews the soul.

High Spring Water

Some say not to,
I can’t resist.

Ten thousand feet, no one above
to spoil the taste.
Hand numb from snow melt,
letting it flow into my cupped palm.

Clear as poured glass over red stone.
Flowing from the mountain’s soul.
Life from the Earth Mother.
Raised to lips, sweet mossy taste.

Some say not to,
I can’t resist.


  1. This is my favorite one of your posts so far...and--and--and I am a woman!

    Got a real chuckle out of your first paragraph, drew me right in. My husband and I were outdoorsy types. The fact that we both enjoyed trout fishing is what lit the fire of our attraction. We were blessed with 3 fine sons who grew up fly fishing and they enjoyed tying flies too. One of the sayings in our family was: A man's gotta smell like a man and do it with pride. Men and women each have their dark sides. Your writing shines with manly brilliance at its best.

  2. I, too, love this post, Robert. I am sending this link to a favortie nephew who visited us in the hospital today. He fishes, hunts and does those manly things, but tonight he helped his uncle with his dinner tray, found him some ice cream to eat with his chocolate cake. I love a man with a sensitive side.