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 Post subject: Introduction
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:43 am • # 1 
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This past year, I have been working on my story....I autobiography if you will....something to leave to my kids....but also to friends and other family....and perhaps other anglers out there might pick up a copy. It will be an unusual kind of fly fishing book......collection of stories, fly tying and fly fishing thoughts. I have six chapters in the 'rough' along with this Introduction which too is in the 'rough' (very much so I know).

I know there are some educated fellows out there and I am not looking for critique or grammatical correction ....just throwing a bit of it out there to honest comment, perhaps some insight...letting others dump on it.

The final result I hope is just what it appears to be.....fishing stories, some history of my passion for angling along with a large number of fly patterns....along with lots of photos. I hope to find a publisher who will take the mess on...even if it flops.

So here it is:






Introduction


“Your telling me I am supposed to find a new obsession....something to occupy my thoughts with....like a happy place”?

The therapist, corrected me – not necessarily a new obsession, but perhaps rekindle an old obsession. Surely, in my youth, there must have been obsessions. Hmmm....day one in therapy for alcohol addiction and he was recommending more addictions. Alcohol was costly enough alone. How could I possible afford, alcohol, therapy and additional obsessions. I guess the whole point to become free from alcohol abuse was to have to choose between it, and a new or rekindled obsession that I could never live without, which made perfect sense to me and jumping into the future, it worked.

There is no need in going into much detail about that which drives humans over the edge and down the other side into self pity, depression and eventual chemical abuse other than to say that a high percentage of us easily find ourselves in that situation...facing all that goes with it. I would like to believe no one or more likely, very few of us intentionally take the road to self destruction or attempts of same, but humans in the cause of how we interpret the purpose of us being here, have created life into an ever increasing challenge, sped it up, complicated it with strange and weird methods of the pursuit of it or what the modern definition of survival and happiness is. I would like to think we could turn back the calender a few generations and start over, but hell, who am I to dream of a life different than what we have now and which would likely be just as nasty and unforgiving as what we have now. Maybe the whole point it to learn to keep ourselves together in the chaos we live in now but simplifying our own lives where we think we can get away with it and find an obsession or two to escape into and slam the door behind us when we just can't face it for awhile. I guess I hadn't learned this yet and possibly still trying to learning now.

What the therapist was asking be was to change out a weekly dose of multiple bottles of whiskey, beer and all other forms of alcohol I was pouring down my esophagus, for something non chemical based.....but equally addictive in a less harmless way, even if the cost was similar...or possibly more. One of the big trials in quitting a bad habit is during idle time. He told me I needed something I could do at the drop of a hat, even in the middle of the night if needed, preferable something I could do with my fingers to exercise them when they got shaky....Painting? No?....Woodwork? No?...there was something I used to do a fair bit of......tie flies and fly fish. I even, had a nice Sage fly rod in one of the closets, somewhere in the house and some fly tying stuff somewhere else....hopefully findable. Ahhh...tie flies and go fly fishing. That would work...if I can just find my stuff. Jumping into the future, it worked. I am alcohol free and my thoughts are frequently (if not way too much) on tying flies and fly fishing. Now, it is not my intent to judge those who drink as I think it would be easy, even fun to try it again, where it not for the fact that my wife has left me two options on the subject.....we can afford alcohol or we can afford fly fishing, but not both.

Going back in time, my first exposure to tying flies was as a kid at the age of twelve. My dad managed a farm in Utah, owned by the Mormon church. We were poor but I would have never known it except looking back, it was the truth. I lived a great life there on the farm, indeed, it was as close to a perfect life for a kid, hundreds of acres of land to roam, hunt on and included two irrigation ponds, over populated with sunfish, bluegills, carp and bullhead catfish – and dad wondered why he could never get much work out of me.

About that time, I watched a sportsman show in the theater showing fly fisherman casting to huge trout and salmon in Alaska....wow! I had to try it and the micro sunfish in living in our ponds would have to do. I had no fly rod but my dad had a couple, a bamboo rod he bough as a kid in the 40's which was strictly off limits for me to field test and spin/fly combo he used on trout streams when we did go fishing. It too was off limits. So my old spinning rod, which was shortened down in the front door to 5 feet long from it's original length of 6 ½ feet which 'sped' it up considerably. A 5 foot, sawed off spinning rod makes a poor stick to cast a fly with but it would have to do for now. Not only were my dad's two fly rods off limits, but his leather fly wallet was too...so I would have to improvise there too. I borrowed a pair of vice grips from his tool box to use as a hook vice and borrow some of his bait hooks along with some sewing thread from my mom. Now all I needed was materials. Living on a farm, there is no shortage of fly tying materials....dubbing could be pulled from the hide of cats, hair could be pulled from the mane of our horse and feathers could be saved from pheasants and ducks that were hunted....or easier yet, from the far side of the drake mallard and ring neck pheasant hanging in the living room...the trick being, to pull a feather only here and there so as to not leave a bare spot and have to answer questions why his prized game bird mounts are falling apart or shedding feathers. I must have perfected the art of taxidermy fly tying material thievery well, as all this is still a secret my dad doesn't know about.

Getting a broken glass spinning rod to load and cast a fly with 10lb monofiliment takes serious timing to make casts, let alone accurate cast much past a few feet, but it must have been a great foundation for teaching me stealth but in spite of such lousy equipment to begin fly fishing with, I did catch some fish, which I took to be great success, even if they were just stupid sunfish, hardly longer my youthful pointer finger. After that first Summer at the church farm, I knew it was time to graduate to real fly fishing and tying equipment. That next Christmas, I was presented great gifts, gifts that would mark the beginning of an obsession....one that would someday, perhaps save my life. I was given a real Berkley glass fly rod, and beautiful one – bright red as an apple. I was also given a fly tying kit, with actual Sunrise vice, some tools and a few materials.....hot digity dog....fly tying materials came in little plastic bags, fast and efficient, but not as fun as chasing down cats to extract dubbing from.

Now, with a proper fly rod and fly tying materials, I knew I must graduate to my fishing quests to higher forms of piscatorial intelligence....in other words, trout had to be smarter than sunfish. Now, I had caught many trout up to that point, even some on lures and even some with a fly, being dragged along behind a clear fishing bubble, which even at that young age, I decided had nothing to do with fly fishing and must be morally wrong. As a youth, raised in a highly religious atmosphere, I was bombarded with a lot of talk about what was moral and what was not but never was it mentioned to me that dragging flies behind clear fishing bubbles was immoral....but it had to be, at least in the mind of a young, budding fly fisherman. I had a hard time understanding the ways of religious adults. But all the talk I heard my teachers spew about setting goals in life, must have set somehow in my tender mind for I knew I had to catch a trout, wild or otherwise, with a real fly rod on a fly I tied myself. It was a lofty star to shoot for and the only reasonable one I believed was worthy to aim at among the plethora of silly, worthwhile goals I was expected to achieve...church attendance, scripture reading, school studies, graduation, college, marriage career, etc....all of which seemed a waist of time when all that I deemed important to me, was to tie a fly that would catch a trout on my fly rod. Looking back, I was wise beyond my years.

Casting a real fly rod, as I soon learned was not a whole lot easier to master quickly than my old 5 foot broken spinning rod but over time, I gained proficiency. I caught bream on our pond and even a few carp...which was a real thrill to finally hear the old Berkely click fly reel go 'zzinngg' as a tough shouldered carp sped across the mossy farm pond, dragging fly line with it. But I longed to catch a trout.

Up on the North Slope of the Uinta Mountains in Utah, we commonly fished some of the various forks of the Bear River. I remember watching my dad standing in the stream casting is spin/fly combo rod, mostly with bait and catching trout for camp dinner....or breakfast, whichever meal was next. So it must have been sometime late Summer, after the run off ended and the water returned to clear and would be wadable in most places. The fly pattern I had been working on was a modified Grey Hackle wet fly....not modified out of creativity, but rather necessity due to limited materials. It would be inevitable, the day would come where I would catch a trout, a wild trout as it turned out to be, with a real fly rod on a fly I tied myself. Today, I struggle to remember if I locked the doors on the car but I have no trouble remembering the day I accomplished the goal. The fly was presented in classic downstream wet fly style though at the time, I knew nothing of fishing styles other than if you cast a fly across multiple water current speeds, it is inevitable, they fly will get dragged, first downstream, then back across towards your side of the stream. This mattered not to me, nor did I understand there were other ways to present flies to trout, and for most small stream fly fishing, it is a hard tactic to beat, even by experienced anglers.

Down and across the ugly, over dressed grey hackle imitation cut a wake on the surface...then it disappeared in a boil of a pursuing fish and I felt the take...but it didn't last any longer than that. But it left am impression of hope....I was likely to catch a trout very soon. And I did, a few casts later. Now, I had a fish on and I played him like any twelve year old would play their first fly caught trout....frantic and hand over hand, stripping the poor thing in fast, then onto land. I still remember it flopping on the sand, getting covered, yet it seemed still quite healthy. I put the fish back in the stream to wash it off before I unhooked it.....a beautiful Cutthroat Trout, hardly nine inches long, but very much a trophy. I knelt in the cold stream water and released it. I must have caught numerous twenty inch Henry's Fork bows in my life that I have long forgot about, but hopefully, I always remember that summer day, long ago, on Utah's Upper Bear River drainage, a pretty little native cutt, in my hands, with a big, buggy, yet innocent looking grey hackle wannabe it it's mouth.

Those first years, I gave every attempt to fish the fly rod only and since buying flies was out of the question due to funds, or lack of finds, all were caught on the flies I tied. The first tying manual I owned was the one supplied with that original tying kit give me. I did try to copy some of the patterns in it but mostly settled down to just a handful of patterns to cover all applications: the adams, the renegade, the grey hackle (my version), along with a couple of inventions; the 'morris fly' ) a fly all too similar to a wet fly version of a light cahill, but with orangeish dubbing pulled from a red tabby farm cat named morris) and the Gale special, a plain looking bug tied with a black chenille body, golden pheasant tail and a white wing..... but both so called inventions did on occasion catch a fish so they were keepers. No fly was smaller than #12 but even so simple of fly box was good enough for my fishing needs.....and if flies failed, I always fell back to bait, either worms dug along the water's edge or even more hideous, salmon eggs...all presented, 'high stick' style with a splitshot, not unlike modern Czeck style of nymph fishing. I guess my ideals of being a fly fishing purist, was only reality so long as I could catch a fish within a short time of arriving on the stream, if not, it was back to bait without apologizing to anyone....and I still don't.....I guess I grew up sort of fast and decided fishing was fishing, be it dry flies, nymphs, bait, lures or nets (if legal), and yes, even flies dragged behind clear fishing bubbles.....and I still feel this way...fishing is fishing, so long as it is done legal.

I must have been around 15 when the first graphite fly rod came into my possession... a wonderful Fenwick 8'6” model along with a couple of Martin 67 reels, one set up with a floating line, the other a type 3 sinking line for still water, which I was fast becoming interested in. I was invited on a week long fishing trip to Idaho, to fish the Henry's Fork and Henry's Lake. The buzz going around was I would be fishing the famous Henry's Fork during what was known as the green drake hatch, whatever the hell a green drake was, but I had visions of huge wild rainbow trout placed in my head so I had to go. From North Utah to Island Park, Idaho is about two hundred and fifty miles so this adventure was akin to say me now taking a trip to Belize. Now I had several new fly pattern to tie up and add to the fly box, green drakes, which I had no idea what they looked like so I tied up some #10, big olive colored adams flies with a chartreuse dyed grizzly hackle, which as it turned out, worked just fine, when I could get one of those smart Henry’s bows to rise to it. I also had various leech patterns to tie, black, brown and olive, which for that first trip was enough. Those three colors are still enough for most henry's lake fishing but not according to my stillwater fly box which is jammed full of leeches of a huge variety of colors and styles. In truth, black, brown and olive are really good enough if the fish are feeding.

Idaho as I soon learned, is a very special place for fly fishing, so when my dad was transferred to to run a church farm in the eastern part of the state, I was elated.

For the next decade and slightly more, I went absolutely bananas tying flies and fishing. I gradually fished more and more with flies only. Even when I did pick up a spinning rod, I used homemade jigs in preference to chucking high dollar Rapalas and risk loosing them. I could tie a jig up for well under a buck each and I believed they out fished all other lures. I believe it still and I continue to fish them at times when the water is too deep to present flies in.

There comes a sad transition in life where the call of 'go make a living' rings out to humans and off we go, often forgetting all that truly made us happy. This is not to say, we should not go make a living, but at least in my case, I, just as in fishing, the previous decade, when bananas, only this time in pursuit of a living...taking me along for a ride through most of the rest of the United States for more than a dozen years. Oh, I fished plenty, but very little with the fly rod and two aluminum rod tubes, marked Fenwick and Sage, sat in closets for the most part....well worn and previously loved fly rods, sort of forgotten. It is a miracle I didn't sell them both, but I did sell that vintage American made Fenwick fly rod to my cousin who's interest in fly fishing was really taking shape. I'm glad he put the rod to good use for years. Later, when my passion for fly fishing was rekindling, I offered to buy the rod back and was getting close when something bad happened to the rod....it drowned in the depths of Henry's Lake and as far as I know, is still there....fitting, this rod was bought for that first trip to Henry's Lake, nearly 30 years earlier and now it rests there, unless some one snagged it while trolling, which is unlikely, but could happen. My cousin who had fished the rod for years, felt very sorry about the loss. My dad (who is now too old to do much fly fishing), felt bad too, when I told him the story and promptly gave me his old Fenwick 6wt, a near match to my old rod. I still have that one and fish it at least once a year....but never on Henry’s lake, superstitious as I am at times, fearing the waters there may have an affinity for old American made Fenwick fly rods.

It would take a book or two to cover my life or pursuit of it during those years, I was away from the tying bench and fly rod, but I will attempt to sum it up by saying the bulk of it (outside the starting of a wonderful family) consisted of a quagmire of combines, peterbuilt trucks, tractors, midwest grain harvest and over the road trucking....and **** little else - which is likely why I ended up in a whiskey bottle when I should have been hip deep in a trout stream more. Even my poor family got grossly neglected. I am amazed I still have them. Now, I am too poor and still too young to quit making a living but at least, I am learning to make sure, no living can make up for time not spent doing more valuable things like fishing....and being with family. The purpose in my writing this book is to tell a story about a fly fisherman, a collection of theories and fly patterns, and fish stories, to leave for prosperity and with a little luck, perhaps an expanded audience through book sales. Hopefully, all this will end up more interesting than an actual journal. We are all guilty of plagiarism to a degree...so much written and fly patterns already tied, so no fly pattern in this book can I call my own....though we fly tiers like to spin our own signatures on all ready proven patterns....it is just what we do. My deep hearted thanks to those who gave of their time for this work, and all who have blessed my life with their friendship, generosity, insight and wisdom. Some know who they are, others do not......dad and mom, other family members - close and distant, artists, photographers, authors, co workers and fellow anglers I meet along the stream banks and lake shores. Most of all, thanks to my loving wife and children. Thanks for your patience and understanding as I pursuit the sport. I love the fly rod and the tying vice.


Last edited by DCG on Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Introduction
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:50 am • # 2 
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Posts: 361
Very nice David. Reading your intro started my day off well.


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 Post subject: Re: Introduction
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:00 pm • # 3 
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Kudos to you, the introduction has some grammar errors and typos... I won't tell cause you ask for insight rather than that. I can tell you that you touch some nerves in my spine on your going, as I was also a junkie for 15 years on things alcohol and heavier chemical and herbs stuff that gladly I left behind. I like the way you tell the story, as my memory flashes back to my own youth and move forward as you go.
If you keep it that way its gonna be a great book to go through as all of us can ride it with our own memories along the way.


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 Post subject: Re: Introduction
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:11 pm • # 4 
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Thx for your comments. I believe there are two strong healers in life: love and water. My hat is off to all who over come addictions.

This will be a work in progress....and likely take a fair bit of time to complete. I appreciate your honest input.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Introduction
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:46 pm • # 5 
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David......Your story is both interesting and heart-wrenching. Good job pal...and here's to trying some 12x.


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 Post subject: Re: Introduction
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:32 pm • # 6 
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Location: Idaho
A great beginning to what I believe will end up being a very helpful book to many people suffering from all types of addictions....


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 Post subject: Re: Introduction
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:12 pm • # 7 
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Joined: 09/09/14
Posts: 261
Location: southern Brazil
Dave,

Congratulations on your endeavor! From what we have seen so far, you have a captivating tale to tell. Not all of us, myself included, can easily put such emotional issues into words and get the message across. And you are writing about two subjects in which I strongly believe: fly-fishing and recovery.

For the last several years most of my time has been spent taking care of a family, which is now larger and even more demanding, and making a living in a difficult economy. I have been working as a teacher of English as a foreign language, and also in translation/review/proofreading. Along the way others have taught me that rather than merely point out problems it's better to seek and offer solutions. As has already been pointed out, there is a need in your work for corrections of spelling, punctuation, and some grammar details. I would be quite willing to do a review of your text, free of charge. If you're interested, you could start out by just sending me a PM with your e-mail address.


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 Post subject: Re: Introduction
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:18 am • # 8 
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Location: Cornelius, NC
Outstanding, when does the book come out?


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