Back when I was a kid, I traveled a bit during summer vacations to mainly the upper midwest, from Wisconsin to Washington and many of the states in between. That was where I first saw anyone fly fishing. When I got back to Nebraksa I looked around and realized that there just wasn't much availble for anyone to get into fly fishing in the area, this was all before the internet, big sporting good stores, before the Mothership landed close to home (I've got a Cabela's 10 minutes from my house now!).
Over the years I grew into the impression that fly fishing was strictly a way to fish those clear moutain streams I'd encountered during my travels, even to the point were I thought fly fisherman were L.L. Bean shopping "snobs". That opinion changed last year when I joined an organization that some of you on here are familiar with, the Nebraska Fish and Game Association. On that paticular fishing forum I met a great guy by the name of OldBaldGuy, becasue of him and several others, I got interested in, and bought a float tube and met up with Roger one day to fish for catfish. I knew he was a fly fisherman, but didn't expect him to go fish for cats with a fly rod. Sure enough he did, and caught a bigger catfish than me. I was amazed to say the least.
I met up with many members of the NEFGA including OBG many times last summer and this season as well, mostly to fish out of float tubes for what ever was biting, but gills were always a primary target for most of us, big gills always being on my mind casting with my ultra lite and micro jigs while I drifted with my cat rod for big cats.
About three weeks ago, I met up with a buddy for a multi purpose trip. One was to catch bait for fishing trip the next day, Two was to catch frogs for some good eats! While fishing for bait, he asked to see my ultra lite and handed me his fly rod. And then he wouldn't give it back! He gave me a few quick pointers on how to cast and I was off.
A few days after that adventure, the same guy gave me an old 3 wt and reel. The very next day, as I was stripping line off the reel so I could switch over for left hand, my 8 month old beagle pup decided the pile of line at my feet was a toy, grabbed it and took off, snapping the top of the rod like a twig. I explained what happened to another good friend who promptly gave me a brand new 2 piece 6 wt and old reel.
Back in action, I met with OBG for some casting lessons, caught a few small gills while at it. Over the last two weeks or so, I've been able to get the fly rod out a few times and have had some fun, and some frustration. Learned some new knots, found myself wandering into the fly fishing section at Cabelas and praying for not so windy days.
I'm not giving up my standard tackle by any means. It's pretty hard to cast big live bait for flatheads, or big chunks of cut bait for channels and blues with a fly rod. But for gills, I pretty sure the fly rod will be the way to go, although there is something to be said for sitting back in a chair and drowning worms under a bobber with my wife and three girls.
Well, that's how I became a fly fisherman, thanks for reading the overly long post, thanks to the good friends who've helped me expand my methods of fishing and thanks Bruce for an outstanding site!
My biggest gill to date on the fly rod.... Note the parasites this one has