As a Fly Fishing Guide, I get to spend a lot a time on the water with many different types of clients. They are all super! Sometimes, I feel guilty taking my fee because I’m having just as much fun as they are (only kidding about the fee), but we do share a lot of memories together. In this article, I want to share my experience with a young boy from Georgia, Cameron Mallin.
It was in July of 2015 that one of my friends’ wife asked me to take her girlfriend’s son fly fishing. I was told that he did fish for bass with a spinning outfit but wanted to get into fly fishing. So we met up in the morning and proceeded to register him for the Trophy waters at Cherokee. (How about that for your first day out with a fly rod!) Most of the morning was spent teaching, instructing, and showing Cameron what to do and how to do it. He picked it up pretty quick.
As the morning went on, he had his first encounter with a trout. I estimate it to have been approximately 22” and about 4 lbs. The fish took him down the river, back up and all around. He did a real good job of handling the fish until it eventually came off. I don’t know if I could have done any better. Well, we sat down together to repair his leader and discuss what just had happened. At that point, he put his arm around me and said, “Today is the Greatest Day in my Life.” I bowed my head down and almost began to cry. That’s how much that meant to me.
This is exactly why I love fly fishing and working with young people and new people. Little did Cameron know, that day was one of my greatest, too.
BLUE CHIP FLY FISHING
I recently went on a fishing trip with (4) friends. At the end of the day, we were deciding were to eat dinner. While we were thinking about where to go, one friend said, “I got about 8 or 10” Another friend said, “I got close to 15.” I chimed in and asked, “Why do you guys count your fish?” I want to share some of their answers.
Gary: Well, I sort of count. I try to measure how good the day was.
Mike: I usually start to count, but then I lose count or forget. Especially when I get to double digits. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if I’m satisfied.
James: I don’t count. I don’t care, however, I know if it’s less than five. I’m more concerned about catching. It’s a challenge to find out what fly is working.
Austin: Well, I do fishing competitions. So, I’m used to counting, not only how many, but sometimes how long too. Also, if I catch 20 in one day, I want to beat that number and try to increase my catch rate.
I fished a father and son combo in March this year. As soon as the father caught the first fish, he yelled out to his son, “one to nothing.”
As I continue to guide, I realize that counting will always be a part of the day. I came up with a fun way to count fish, and be ACCURATE at the same time. I use baseball players by identifying their uniform number with their names. Here are some examples. My clients get a kick out of it. FIRST fish caught is Billy Martin. SECOND fish is Derrick Jeter. THIRD is Babe Ruth. FOURTH is Lou Gehrig. Here‘s the rest:
- Billy Martin
- Derrick Jeter
- Babe Ruth
- Lou Gehrig
- Joe Dimaggio
- Stan Musial
- Mickey Mantle
- Yogi Berra
- Ted Williams
- Phil Rizzuto
- Luis Aparicio
- Gil McDougal
- Dan Marino (ha!)
- Gil Hodges
- Thurman Munson
- Whitey Ford
- Carl Eskine
- Ted Kluszewski
- Jr. Gilliam
- Don Sutton
- Roberto Clemente
- Johnny Podres
- Micheal Jordan (ha!)
- Willie Mays
Here’s Billy, Derrick, Babe and Lou:
My friend James Serra, from Georgia, and I planned a trip to Fires Creek, NC on March 3rd. I enjoy fishing with James. We have good chemistry together.
The day was a pretty cold one and the water was high and moving fast. Tough conditions, to say the least. For me, the morning session was slow. Caught plenty of fish but not the usual high count day.(James was doing better than I was) We decided to break for lunch then go back at it for the afternoon session. While looking for a spot on the river, we came across two young couples. Adam Dunton and his wife, Ladson, and Caleb Stewart and his wife. (Ladson is the Marketing Coordinator for SWEETWATER beer company out of Atlanta.) I asked Adam how he was doing, said “ caught a few but my wife hasn’t got anything yet.” I asked if I could assist her. He said yes. Here I go, budding into someone else’s business. But I can’t help myself.
So, I asked Ladson to bring in her line and let me check it out. I changed her fly, put one of mine on, added some weight, and lengthened her indicator. With a little instruction where to cast, Ladson made her first drift. Well, the fishing Gods have always been good to me. On that first drift, she hooked and landed a nice little rainbow. Where we excited? Oh ya! After a quick photo and release, she had some confidence and it showed. A few more casts and she hooked into and landed a Brookie. WOW – this is more fun than me catching fish (well, almost LOL)
I explain that she needed to catch a Brown to claim the Fires Creek Slam. Like I said, I’ve been blessed. Indicator goes down, I yell set, and she pulls out a Brown. SLAM, and She goes on my Wall of Fame – Bronze Status. At this point, I felt like the Lone Ranger. “Come on James (Tonto), our work here is done.” LOL
I love to fish. Always have. But I can honestly say, that when I guide or “bump” onto someone, and put them on fish. It’s the best feeling for me. HOW SWEET IT IS!