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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:20 pm • # 1 
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In the 60’s being a city kid from Boston, I treasured, idolized, & watched TV programs of Outdoorsman’s such as Red Sox, Ted Williams, sports announcer, Curt Gowdy, Virgil Ward, Gadabout Gaddis i.e. Flying Fisherman … they were my admired fishing heroes. They were expert fly fishermen which was out of my young realm of knowledge

In the summer of 1974, I had enlisted in the USAF & stationed, worked nights at Columbus AFB, Mississippi, and that part of the country was infested with huge LMB bass, Crappie, Bream and Catfish…. I was in fisherman heaven!!!... A coworker of mine came into work bragging with a cooler full 3-4 lbs. bass he had caught that evening at a local farm pond…Well, I got off work at 7 am the next morning and by 7:30, 15 miles from the Air Force base, I was at the same 20 acre farm pond. Most farmers and property owners allowed fishing on the “honor system”… In those days, you had to place $3 dollars in a cigar box on the fence post or gate entrance, sign in your name before entering the property, those were the good old days…when you could knock on a property owner door and 9 times out of 10 they gave you permission to fish…

This picture perfect jewel of a pond/lake was filled with cedar stumps and lily pads plus several cedar trees around one side … it was shore fishing only, no boats allowed. Several people were already fishing there, mostly cricket and worm dunkers with bobbers… I was equipped with my trusty spin-cast Zebco 33 and tackle box full of Mann’s jelly worms confident that I was going score big…!!! I was sadly over self-confident and came away skunked, everything I threw was either ignored or hung up on tree roots… I was frustrated…It was hot, muggy summer morning, Mississippi get rather warm around 10-11 am everything pretty much stops biting … I decided to leave…

As I was walking back to my car, on the other side of the pond, I viewed an frail looking elderly gentleman with a fly rod casting a surface lure under the shade of Cedar tree… watching him, he made 10 gentle casts …causing 10 huge top water eruptions which, resulted in 10 fat bluegills!! I was amazed at the success he was having… he was giggling like a young teenager… I walk over observing a stringer of fish which that was quite impressive. I ask him that I thought fly fishing was for Trout!! He was very approachable, his name was Oits, laughed and said fly fishing is the best kept secret ever and most fun you can have fishing…

We chatted for several minutes, Otis explaining how easy it is fly fish once you get the hang of it… He told me if I bought one of those $19.00 ?? South bend fly rod kits at Gibson’s, a discount store in downtown Columbus, he would be back at the pond next Saturday morning. He was willing to help me get started and show me some of his “hush hush honey holes” on the pond where some big bass and Shell crackers hang out, (He called them big Gills...Purple Pisser!)… Also, he said, make sure I buy some of the 15 cent Accordo Bream poppers, yellow and bright green are good colors…

Off I went to Gibson’s, next day purchased exactly the ?? South bend fly rod kit with the automatic fly reel he suggested. Saturday morning, I was eagerly waiting to meet Otis at the pond in Cedar Bluff, Mississippi… Unfortunately, Otis never showed up… waited most of the morning, for him….so I was determined try this fly fishing adventure, so I taught myself how to fly fish best I could….I cursed, fumbled, tangled and cast the fly line and the popping bugs like I was from the “Special Olympics”, but managed to catch some nice size gills, small bass and crappie surprisingly, really started to get the hang of it and was proud of myself … and Otis was right; it was a different method to catching fish and it was a lot of fun…

I fished that special farm pond a dozen time over the next few weeks, hoping to run him again…Eventually, I was casting, fly fishing much better and catching many more fish each time, what a blast it was!!! On my way out from fishing this pond several weeks later, I ran into the property owner at the gate entrance and told him, how I enjoyed the success on his pond… I told him I was fly fishing with popping bugs and flies, and mention a man named Otis suggested I try it and we were supposed to meet up to fish together… The property owner said he knew of Mr. Otis who frequented his pond for many years; sadly, he passed away a couple of weeks back!!! I was speechless… I never got a chance to thank him for encouragement he gave me to try fly fishing and all the pleasure fly fishing since would give me… for the next 44 years!


Last edited by gillbuster on Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:50 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:46 pm • # 2 
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Location: Rusagonis, New Brunswick, Canada
What a great story! Otis did you a great favour. Hopefully, someday you'll get the chance to pay it forward.
Brent


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:40 pm • # 3 
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Joined: 06/28/18
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Location: Cornelius, NC
Thanks for sharing this with us.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:08 pm • # 4 
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Location: Richardson Texas
Thank you for a very touching but accomplished story. Sad that your teacher inspired you but never made it to your first lesson. You did well on your own.
My introduction was by my brother back in 1967. He called me over for a visit then showed me his fiber glass rod , a Heddon I think #7 weight. Said he had just bought it. Anyway he had not learnt to cast yet but it interested me to the degree that I purchased a rod at the same shop in Bulawayo Rhodesia. It took a long while for me to learn totally self taught never did well or caught much until the mid seventies when I caught some trout and then totally turned to warmwater fly fishing. Tied my own flies self taught using a step by step book which I still have. Made my own tools and used a vice grip for a tying vice. Only in the mid 1990's that I really got into it but always enjoyed warm water. After arriving here purchased a TFO 2 weight and never went back to my 5 weight.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:36 am • # 5 
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viewtopic.php?f=98&t=5789


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:50 am • # 6 
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Location: Oklahoma
Started fishing with my father-in-law at about age 26. Like many, I started out with spin casting equipment, gradually moved up to baitcasting reel, then to open faced spinning reel, and finally to light spinning gear. By 1988 I was quite happy fishing with my spinning gear. I had started fishing with a neighbor who also loved fishing creeks and rivers. He started trying to get me to use a fly rod. I wasn't interested. I figured flyfishing was a "yuppie" sport. He gave me his old Heddon glass rod from when he was 12 years old. It is still leaning up against the wall of my garage, unused. For my birthday, he gave me a new Browning graphite rod. It sat unused for about 18 months. I gradually began to feel a bit of an ingrate and asked him to show me how to set the outfit up and how to cast it. After about 30 minutes of instruction, he left me to practice casting on my own. That weekend I ventured out to my favorite creek with my fly rod. I went alone as I wanted no witnesses to what I feared may be a total disaster. Much to my surprise I caught a few nice smallmouth and spotted bass and sunfish. Before long I needed a rod lighter than a 6/7 weight. Since that time I have "needed" many, many different lengths, weights, and actions of fly rods. I have reached a point where I need to start thinning out my rod collection. I have quite a few rods I have acquired that I purchased mostly out of curiosity and have never fished them and never will. I have quite a few that I used to fish, but haven't used in several years. Over the past couple of years I have actually sold, traded, or gave away 4 or 5 rods. Unfortunately I just picked up more. I have another rod on the way to me now.

I suppose I could say I am an addict, but unlike most addictions flyfishing provides some healthy benfefits. I am frequently out in Nature, along some of her most beautiful creations, clear flowing streams. I am getting healthful exercise while hiking alongside the streams and wading (stumbling) in the streams. I occasionally get some upper body workouts in the form of paddling my canoe or kayak. I have also sustained some sprains, contusions, abrasions, and lacerations as result of some nasty falls from tripping over rocks, slipping on slick rocks, etc. However this is a small price to pay for happiness. So what if my right ankle is permanently swollen, that's why they make stretch socks. Somebody once said you can't buy happiness. Obviously that person never purchased a fly rod.

Larry


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:18 pm • # 7 
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"Somebody once said you can't buy happiness. Obviously that person never purchased a fly rod."

Perfect, Larry!! :applause


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:20 pm • # 8 
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Larry... I am stealing that quote... well stated


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:55 pm • # 9 
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Location: Coppell, TX
Gillbuster, touching account. Thanks for posting.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:58 pm • # 10 
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Location: Oklahoma
You might as well steal it, I did. I just don't remember who I stole it from.

Larry


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