Kat Everitt: Gone Fishing

By Guest Contributor December 7, 2014 02:15

Another FANtastic Tale of Adventure 

By Kat Everitt     kat-everitt-father-is-bill-photo-taken-1980s

I used to fish, as a kid, with my dad. We’d use rod and tackle for trout, bluegills, perch or small-mouth bass in Wisconsin lakes. Dad had spin-fisher’s rods and lures for lake and pond fishing.

The tackle for a spin rod is a six-foot light rod with a light spinning reel with 200 yards of under-ten-pound-test line. The lure is plastic or light wood, like balsa, shaped to look like a minnow with the hook under it. It’s painted silver with some green or red or gold, and has this lip in front of it to make it wriggle like a little fish when you’re reeling it in.

Start the tip of the rod at about 10:00 o’clock position … bring the tip to 12:30, and then snap the wrist quickly back to 10-12:30 at about eye level. Let go of the index finger that was curled around the line. If snapped right, the lure lands with a little plop about 50 feet away or so.

“Fish the lure” through the water by turning the crank on the side of the reel, which reels in the line: The lure looks like a swimming little fish. Reel it to the side of the boat, leaving the lure dangling about three inches from the tip … make another cast … and another….

Dad did not always take me fly-fishing. because I didn’t get good…it has to do with knots, and the ballet of casting a fly-fishing line.

The outfit for a fly fisher is quite different than the reel. The lure is a hook wrapped in shiny foil or a streamer stuck with feathers here and there – much lighter than the balsa lures. I got good at “dapping” them, plopping them in off the side of the boat, tapping the water lightly with them.

Dad preferred a sturdy bamboo rod with what he called “medium action” – many fly fisherman prefer these over fiberglass. About eight feet long and light, you flick them to see if they’re lively… They cast to shoot longer lengths out. Dad weighed their floating lines with tiny lead shot beads, to fish with wet (underwater) flies.

Use that weighted line with that leader attached, to get the fly way out over the water with a cast. Casts can go 100, but 30 to 50 is usual. The fly line is separated from the fly by that thinner, more flexible leader, to help make the fly look like it’s alive. The fly lands gently with a little snap on top of the water – and has a knot to secure it to the heavier line… being ‘all knots’ about knots. Dad taught me loop-to-loop connections with ‘nail knots’ … pray that they hold … lose Dad’s fly and you’re toast!

After tying on the leader, pull about 10 feet of the line beyond the tip… Pull out about 25 feet of fly line off the reel and hold it all coiled without snarls (pray!), in your left hand. Cast with this rocking back-and-forth flicking motion, to a kind-of up-and-down flow…

Line you’re feeding out should be arching into an arc, in back, then in front of you. Release some of the coil of the fly line on the forward stroke: four times back and forth, letting out line. On the fourth forward one, everything settles gently in the water around that spot 30 to 40 feet away, with a tiny snap kind-of plop. Mine often plopped at once, about 10 feet away….

Streamers settle in the water and sink, pulling the leader down. Instead of reeling it in, hook the fly line over the index finger of your hand holding the rod. Pull on the line carefully coiling it back up on your hand, making the lure look like its darting through the water, under the water, like a little minnow. When the fly gets near the boat, start another cast…

Control of where the lure ends up is a whole lot better than with the spin rod, because you’re working your “bug” out in the water more… reading water for the little indented circles and plops that mean a fish is there … casting, casting….

I preferred the simple push-button spincast reel rod, my can of earthworms, dug up fresh, and a bobber. The worm just sits there on or near the bottom. The bobber floats and bobs in the current and may lure fish to the bait … I got used to threading sacrificial worms onto the hook. Life to life …

In my beginner’s mind, fly fishing is much harder to learn and master than spin fishing is. Still, both are wonders! Day of spin fishing. Day of fly fishing: A day well spent…

Live Waters: River … Mill Pond … Lake … Reservoir. Full of splash of living Fish … I love catch-and-release habits of fisher-people nowadays: Returning Life back to Their Waters …

Dad and I took The Catch back home…we scraped them and gutted and cleaned them and fried or poached and ate them.

Now I’d throw ’em back – for all the pleasure and wonder they give.

I’m grateful that I have fished …grateful for Dad… for the wonderful lures and flies and rods and the tackle box full of do-dads you just gotta have….

When you cast just ‘right’
when you feel that tug of Life at the bait
when you are carefully playing Life into the side of the boat
when you reach over, hold’em gently and firmly
when you slip the hook out from the gills
this can be a beautiful time
and then….you let ’em go….

Kat Everitt lives in Pioneer, California.

To read our Tales of Adventure Contest winners’ stories, see the Winter 2014 issue
of Friends and Neighbors Magazine, available at these locations and by subscription.


By Guest Contributor December 7, 2014 02:15
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