I was 11 years old when my parents bought me my first fly rod. It was a White River 5wt. and I was grateful of the generous purchase, especially since my father kept telling me how expensive it was.
I fished all the time back then with my friends, but bringing a fly rod to the lake one day was like listening to a foreign language. My buddies watched and chuckled as I tangled myself up in the thick orange line. It was not long until I was back to throwing my squirm and squirt jig under a small panfish bobber, catching crappie. I brought that fly rod with me all over the place trying to get the line out far enough to entice something to hit my offering. The rod was stepped on about 7 months after I got it. It was never the same after that and I forgot about it.
Fishing was a big part of my life until high school. Girls, sports, and everything else that a high school student goes through got in the way. We would still get out a few times a year, but nothing like when we were in our early teens and did not have a responsibility in the world. It was not until after we all graduated that fishing picked back up again.
NT moved to Ohio for school and claimed the fishing out there was incredible. He told me what to pick up for a fishing trip for walleye and steelhead. An item on the list was a fly rod. I picked up the only brand name I knew, an 8wt. White River fly rod and some ESL and egg patterns his buddy suggested. I was ready to fly fish, or so I thought.
We got to the river later then expected for our only time on the water chasing steel. NT's buddy who has fished this river since he was little was there to guide us around. He showed us a few casting tips in the parking lot. It was here that I realized I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Stepping into the water casting a fly rod that day was like doing it for the first time. The casting pointers helped out and I was drifting woolly buggers with a strike indicator through pools. I was working a pool along some downed trees when the indicator danced on the surface. With a quick hook-set, the battle was on. The fish went airborne a few times which got the attention of the guys I was with. Everyone came running over to see the smallmouth bass break the surface again. I fought the fish for a few minutes before the line snapped. I had no idea what I was doing and it was perfect!