I had a phone call inviting me to spend a day fly fishing at Humber Springs Trout Club. I have to admit, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The pair of distinguished gentlemen (Ron and Barry) who were inviting me to tag along were more like PhD’s in all things fly related, and I am just a little past frosh week.
Apparently, part of the ritual is stopping by Jimmy’s Family Restaurant for a big breakfast. It’s a unique spot, the grounds are decorated with old baby furniture, surplus tables and chairs, a few vintage trailers which seem to be storing more relics from someone’s past…
Breakfast was an experience that simply can’t be described, but as Barry puts it, at least you’re not hungry twenty minutes after you start fishing!
We stopped to have a peek at the first pond just past the gates when you arrive. This pond is full of BIG trout, the three year olds that the hatchery must supply to lucky local farmers to stock their ponds with. These fish set the surface of the pond to frothing as you approach, as they are acclimatized to believe that each approach means handfuls of food will be tossed their way. If only the fish in the other ponds were half as friendly…
I was a little nervous about pulling out my gear, putting it all together in front of these guys, as I hoped to get lots of great advice about what leader to use, how to tie knots and the like. Barry surprised me with a gift of a beautiful hand made furled leader, a real joy to cast with. Ron *very* patiently showed me how to tie on a hook with a knot using forceps (three loops around the forceps, pull through the tag end, and voila!).
I began to realize that these guys weren’t going to be anything but gracious and generous with the newbie, that I was going to have a great day fishing!
We got to the water’s edge, and I got a quick lesson on the “Roll Cast”. We all tried fishing different flies, in different ways. Barry seems to have a lot of luck with his new Tenkara rod, despite a couple of annoyances… such as a hook under his thumbnail! YIKES!
I started with a small Pheasant Tail nymph (that I had bought as part of that incredible set of Twenty Trout Flies that Orvis sells every year for just $9.99 with free shipping). No luck… I did get somewhat better at my casting, and was carefully observing the odd rogue trout swimming about, seeing how they reacted to my presentation and all. I decided to go for my favourite the Frenchie Nymph… and two casts later, Wham!! Fish on!!!! Ten minutes later, another beauty! For the first time in a long time, my confidence soared. After all this time, I might actually be getting the hang of this fly fishing thing.
(If you think fishing the pond is like shooting fish in a barrel, it simply ain’t so… Ron tried a whole bag of tricks, and was skunked… hey, that’s usually my fate.)
We drove up to “the clubhouse” a quaint structure that has many old mounts from the former owner, who happened to be a taxidermist. We sat outside at the picnic table, and Barry showed off the results of his *amazing* talents as a fly-tyer.
He had some pretty amazing, very small and delicate, flies. I simply can’t describe the patience and talent he has, I merely sat and observed with awe and wonder.
We split apart after that, Barry headed back to the original pond, Ron went out back to practise his casting for an upcoming competition. I wandered around a little bit trying a little of this, a little of that, trying to reflect on what I had learned from these guys. One of them observed that they tried to hold back on giving me too much information, for fear of making me feel like I had been hit with a blast from a fire hose!
It was a fairly cold and windy spring day, being around back made casting more difficult, and my body felt a little stiff. l had received so much great advice on fly selection, casting and presentation… I decided to try one last fly on a dock on one of the bigger ponds.
It seemed like a good time for my latest, an Olive Wooly Bugger. Second cast.. Wham!
I will sometimes wonder why I love Orvis gear so much, but I sure do *love* this pic!!