My life story as told by water

Who I am, and how that's shaped my fishing life

My life story as told by water
My first fishing rod, age 4ish. Not a fly rod.

(Title brazenly stolen from the master, David James Duncan, who used it to head a must-read collection of his essays.)

Pillar 1: Mindset
Start here. Why do we fish? How do we venture boldly into the outdoors?

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Inside this entry

  1. Meet your instructor
  2. An alternate universe Up North
  3. Learning from local fly fishing clubs
  4. Giving back and going west
  5. Self assessment: what will your autobiography look like?

Meet your instructor

I grew up in a place with a lotta water. Michigan, the Great Lakes State. My parents had a place in one of the newly-created suburbs of Detroit, A sort of edge zone, or borderland, where we had a hundred acres of forest behind the house and a subdivision in front.

There was a decent-sized pond about ten minutes’ walk through the woods from the house, and a great little creek, Tarabusi Creek, a tributary to the then criminally polluted Rouge River. The Rouge was famous at the time for its industrial decrepitude, but has become a healthy fishery, thanks in part to advocates like the Friends of the Rouge River.

Our little corner of pre-suburban wilderness also had a fishing shop nearby—"Lakeside Fishing Shop 2"—on a street named after another river, Grand River. About that time I was old enough to ride bikes on my own, and have some pocket money. I invested in a rod and a little Plano tackle box with lead-head jig grub patterns that I would use to catch bluegill from the pond.

Fly anglers with thousands of dollars of tackle on their person don't like to hear this, but fishing with a nymph under an indicator isn't really much different than that. And that's not a bad way to start out, if you're an absolute beginner, to get the feel of things. That's how we start our first-ever Intro to Fly Fishing class trip. Things are a little more delicate, with smaller hooks and lighter line, and more than just bluegill in the mix, but in its essence it's not far removed.