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Summer_dougJune 9th, 2021, 8:45 am
Detroit, MI

Posts: 56
I started fly fishing a handful of year's ago because I was tasked with learning a new skill using YouTube videos only as an assignment in my Master's work. The assignment was open-ended and we could pick anything. I'm not sure why I chose learning to tie flies for fly fishing, but I did. At that point, I had never fly fished and didn't own any gear.

As I started tying woolly buggers, clouser minnows, and foam ants, I figured I should learn to fish them and bought waders. I researched budget fly rod set-ups and spent about a week trying to wrap my head around a set-up that required backing, fly line, leader, and tippet - I wondered, "What the heck is tippet?"

It took me about a year (probably 6 or 7 trips) before I gut lucky and fooled as Au Sable brown trout with an ant and brought my first trout to hand. During that I trip I tried to convince my friend (who had been fly fishing for a couple of years) that the ant was the way to go, but he, as nicely as he could, refused and used his store bought elk hair caddis. After missing what I thought were numerous trout, I asked my friend, "Is it possible I am setting the hook to hard?" Since he hadn't seen a rise all afternoon, he laughed off my question and said, "I don't think that's possible." Another hour with no trout and what I am beginning to strongly suspect are missed rises, I forced my friend to watch me cast, drift, and set a hook on a rise. As I set the hook, a six inch brook trout flew out of the water about a foot and came unhooked. At that point, my friend politely explained the difference between bass fishing and trout fishing. Convinced I wasn't making the story up, my friend tied on one of my small peacock and foam ants. Armed with a new fly and new hook setting techniques, we caught double digit fish as the July sun set on the Au Sable.

I'll never forget that experience and it cemented my passion for fly fishing. I guess the how-did-you-start became what-was-your-first-trout.

I hope to hear some good reflections and maybe encourage you to take on a mentee if you don't have one. I've always wanted one and this board has helped meet that need.

Doug
From Michigan
Jmd123June 9th, 2021, 9:05 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2529
University of Michigan Biological Station, the Maple River, and the Hex hatch! Talk about "baptism under fire"! I was inspired by my Plant Ecology professor from the previous summer so in 1985 I started whipping the water with a fly rod. My very first fish, caught off the piers leading into the boathouse at the station, was a 6" rock bass on a Muddler Minnow.

It took me three years to start catching trout on a regular basis on a fly rod, which was how long my professor told me it would take. He was right!!!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
PartsmanJune 9th, 2021, 9:45 am
bancroft michigan

Posts: 383
I can’t explain my love of fishing, I was born that way. And ever since I can remember I wanted to fly fish, maybe it was watching Michigan outdoors back in the 60,s, our that my grandmother was born on the banks of the Pine river near mikado and trout fishing was a way life that she wanted us kids to enjoy. Was 8 or 9 years old my folks bought me a Shakespeare fly rod outfit, we lived on the south side of flint, and I spent many days practicing in the front yard casting at my sisters hula hoop. My other grandparents moved to just down stream of Bull Shoals dam right on the river, talk about nirvana! I went in and out of fly fishing, big on steelhead for a while then of course walleye fishing, but now it’s just a fly rod, and at 64 years old I’m just like kid who sleep the night before the opening day of pheasant season, or on fishing trip.
Mike.
RogueratJune 9th, 2021, 11:48 am
Posts: 471
Neat thread, interesting to see how we got our start in this never-ending passion of ours (roughly stated- La Cosa Nostra...'this thing of ours')

I got started in 1987 after acquiring a Larry Dahlberg VHS tape 'Fly fishing for Northern Pike' which explained it all including a bonus tying segment on a Mega Diver...and after years of chucking hardware at said N Pike I saw fly fishing for them as a new frontier to conquer. I bought an Abu Garcia Conolon 8wt rod/reel combo, SA 'Bass taper' WFF 8 wt line, made wire-tippet leaders and went crazy tying hair bugs of all shapes and sizes...and spent lots of hours in a rowboat or canoe slinging deerhair bricks at some nice fish.
In 1997 or so an old friend moved back from Minnesota and coaxed me into moving water fishing for trout; he had Sage, Loomis, etc and I had entry level equipment but Chad and I had a blast on the Muskegon and Rogue! Since then I've acquired another mumble-dozen rod and reel setups including Spey and switch rods, learned to tie down to size 22 pretty much anything I need, and I have 3 daughters (out of 5 kids, not a bad turnout) who simply LOVE the 'quiet sport'...they'll fish with Dad now and then when life gives them a break and I cherish the time and memories we've had on the water. It's been a great trip so far, and I look forward to teaching my grandkids how to cast and wade if they're so inclined.

Roguerat

'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
Jmd123June 10th, 2021, 5:44 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2529
So Doug, the Michigan Boys have responded! How 'bout some other states?

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Summer_dougJune 10th, 2021, 11:28 am
Detroit, MI

Posts: 56
The Michigan boys go strong! It’s awesome to hear how everyone started out. Some of us shared the passion with close family relationships, some of us had deep personal friendships, and others stumbled along!

Let’s hear some more! I think Matt (wbranch) has shared his beginnings before, but always welcome a retelling.
From Michigan
AdirmanJune 10th, 2021, 1:54 pm
Monticello, NY

Posts: 498
About 20 yrs ago , when I first moved down to the Catskills. Back home in the “real” upstate NY ( up by the st Lawrence River), we were all red- neck worm dunkers , so when I saw a guy fly fishing On the Neversink for the fi at time , I was hooked . Bought a fly rod shortly afterward and , despite the tremendous sky steep learning curve , I persevered. Haven’t used a spinning rod in at least 10 yrs and probably ever will again 😊.
Jmd123June 11th, 2021, 5:25 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2529
"Haven’t used a spinning rod in at least 10 yrs and probably ever will again 😊."

David, it's been since 2005 in Texas that I put the spinning gear aside and went exclusively with flies (of my own making). I've picked up a spinning rod a few times, especially when I went to Florida (even fished with bait!!), and I've ice fished plenty, but if I can catch it on a fly, I will before I try anything else. And when you become truly focused like this, your fly fishing abilities only get better and better...

Tight lines and dancing flies to all!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
WbranchJune 11th, 2021, 3:34 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2714
I was just 12 years old. School was out for the summer and my Mom asked me if I wanted to tag along with her to the library so she could get some books. I said okay and while she was in the adult section I wandered around in the kids section and happened upon half a shelf of kids fishing books. I took a couple home with me and read them all and the next time we went to the library I went to the adult section to get more books.

I read them and was getting excited about fishing. It's a very long story but my Dad loved to fish when he was a kid living in a coal mining town west of Scranton, PA. I'm talking about when the Loyalsock Creek had nothing but wild brook trout. This was in 1921 to about 1929 when my Dad's family moved to Newark, NJ. My parents took me to a Sear-Roebuck store and they bought me my first spinning rod and a JC Higgins spin reel (a Sears brand)

One thing lead to another and since I was just a kid my Dad started to fish again and we would go to local lakes on weekends with my Mom and we would catch sunnies, bass, and pickerel.

I learned to be a good nymph fly fisher by first being a very good worm fisherman using my first fly rod. A Phillipson 8' 6" with a Plueger Medalist reel. That was sixty-five years ago and I'm still loving it.

I just returned, about two hours ago, from my cabin on the WB Delaware River. I landed six good browns yesterday 16" - 19".
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
AdirmanJune 12th, 2021, 11:46 am
Monticello, NY

Posts: 498
Hey Johnathon, What’s up? I agree w/ you , btw, flyfishing exclusively pretty much forces you to improve - otherwise , you never catch anything!! 😂
AdirmanJune 12th, 2021, 11:48 am
Monticello, NY

Posts: 498
I was just 12 years old. School was out for the summer and my Mom asked me if I wanted to tag along with her to the library so she could get some books. I said okay and while she was in the adult section I wandered around in the kids section and happened upon half a shelf of kids fishing books. I took a couple home with me and read them all and the next time we went to the library I went to the adult section to get more books.

I read them and was getting excited about fishing. It's a very long story but my Dad loved to fish when he was a kid living in a coal mining town west of Scranton, PA. I'm talking about when the Loyalsock Creek had nothing but wild brook trout. This was in 1921 to about 1929 when my Dad's family moved to Newark, NJ. My parents took me to a Sear-Roebuck store and they bought me my first spinning rod and a JC Higgins spin reel (a Sears brand)

One thing lead to another and since I was just a kid my Dad started to fish again and we would go to local lakes on weekends with my Mom and we would catch sunnies, bass, and pickerel.

I learned to be a good nymph fly fisher by first being a very good worm fisherman using my first fly rod. A Phillipson 8' 6" with a Plueger Medalist reel. That was sixty-five years ago and I'm still loving it.

I just returned, about two hours ago, from my cabin on the WB Delaware River. I landed six good browns yesterday 16" - 19".


Nice, Matt - good for you and great story 😊.

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