Fly fishing


The Adams was the first dry fly I ever learned to tie as a kid. Its been years since I’ve tied one. I’ll have to throw a size 14 in the Regal and give it a whirl. I have all the fixins.’

True story.

When I was 12-13 I got this urge to get into fly fishing. I’d spent the previous 3-4 years reading Outdoor Life and Field and Stream from cover to cover and in particular I devoured anything I could find on trout fishing with a fly rod. Back in the 70s there were guys (Bob Clouser, Dave Whitlock and Lefty Kreh to name a few) using fly rods for bass, but it simply wasnt a normally accepted practice. Fly fishing meant going after trout.

So I convinced my dad, who God bless him was more than eager to drop anything he had to in order to take me fishing, that we needed to get in to trout fishing with a fly rod. Our spinning equipment was fine but we needed more shit to clutter up the basement. He agreed and in no time had purchased for me the Orvis beginners fly tying kit. I wasnt just interested in fly fishing, I also felt it to be true that the only real way to get the most joy out of fly fishing was to catch a fish on a fly that you had tied yourself.

I spent the winter tying flies. My God they were terrible. He then took the time to enroll me in a fly tying class. It was through the Tri-County Trout Club out of New Kensington. Now I grew up just off the North Side so it was a bit of an inconvenience to say the least to haul my ass out Rt. 28 to go to this class. But I kept with it and eventually my flies got better.

As spring time rolled around we were both getting the itch to go and try some fly fishing. Over the course of the winter we had both cobbled together the basics for fly fishing. When Opening Day rolled around the conditions were not good and I’m not even sure if we went. A few more weeks went by and the conditions were getting great all over western PA. We decided on a particular Saturday in early May for our first fly fishing trip. We chose Little Mahoning Creek just outside of Punxsy as it was a Delayed Harvest stream and therefore had plenty of fish still in it.

We got a bit of a late start and it was probably pushing 10am by the time we got close to the creek. Neither one of us had ever been there. My dad was following directions that one of the guys from the Trout Club had given him. Our station wagon rolled down the dusty dirt road at a pretty slow pace. The road for the most part ran alongside the creek. Here and there the water looked really nice. It was then at just the exact moment that I happened to be looking at a stretch of water that a fish came up and sipped a fly off the surface. This was the spot.

He pulled over and we tugged on our rubber hip boots. I leaned against the car and looked down inside my fly box (I still have it and it still holds my selection of dry flies) and chose an Adams. Hmm. Looks good. I tied it on to my tippet and walked down to the creek. I waded in about 30 feet below where I’d seen that single fish rise. I got in position and stripped out some line. I lifted the old glass rod up behind my head and the line followed. I made a few ugly false casts and then totally tried to muscle my forward cast right at my target. The line came down in a hideous splat. The tiny Adams flitted out a few feet further and within a split second of touching the surface a trout burst up through the water and sucked in my fly. I hooked him!

“Dad! I caught one!”

“What?” He was still pulling on his boots.

On my first cast EVER with a fly rod I caught a nice 12 inch stocked brown trout.

Needless to say my catching percentage has gone down dramatically from that day.

Also, those flies are for bass- mainly smallies. There is one steelhead fly in there just for good measure. The flies are for a buddy for Christmas. Hopefully he isnt looking.