The Drawing Board

Fly-fishing was never my cup of tea! My beginnings with the sport was spotty, I didn’t follow through and become a proficient caster, but in May of 1957 I used some of my hard earned money and purchased me a fly rod, direct drive, reel and loaded the reel with a floating line, Adding leader material along with some small poppers with one small hook, decorated with little feathers, I was ready to go after ‘em. Knowing what I know now, I should have saved my money!

Being a self taught fly fisherman, I never really gave it a chance. And yes, I have excuses; most of the places where I fished for bass had real brushy banks and rolling a cast up under the brush wasn’t the easiest thing for me; at the time not many folks in Texas were salt water, fly fishermen; fly fishing from a boat, for me, was iffy at best, and I never became a proficient caster.

From my reading I knew that the line was cast out and there was no “slinging” out of a plug, so hieing down to a near by school ground for some practice, I flailed the air, finally gaining a slight degree of proficiency. Being young, it never dawned on me that plenty of room was needed behind the caster and this fact didn’t show itself until after tying on a little, popper and making a failed, back cast.

Ralph Foster, a college and fishing buddy, and I drove up to the gravel pits outside of Romayer and seeing some bream beds along the sides of a pit beside the road, I decided to try out my new gear right there. Attaching a small, yellow popper, I attacked the little fish. My first cast in anger, resulted in the line and little popper hanging up on a low bush behind me (see above paragraph). Rearranging myself, with no back cast foul up, my second cast was a flopper with all the line “globbing” on the water in front of me. Amused at my antics, Ralph said, “Jon, you look kinda’ silly with that line all wrapped around you!” Back to the drawing board!

Finally, after a successfully presented cast, the little popper dropped quietly on to the water. The rings of the displaced water quieted and holding the line in my left hand, with a slight tug on the line, the small plug twitched once. Nothing. Another twitch and the little popper was engulfed by a small fish, type unknown. After a spirited battle I slid the little, hand sized, bream up on to the bank and admired my first catch on a fly rod. Throwing it back, while adding several more hand sizers, that also went back, I switched plugs, tying on a chartreuse, popper.

My first cast with the “glo” bait was met with a different kind of strike. This one hit going away, and cleared the water, a keeper bass! This bass actually pulled line from my left hand and jumped several more times. It definitely put a bend in my rod, but the rod and pressure of the line finally became too much for the fish. Reaching down to lip it, I clipped the almost, 2 pounder to my stringer. Adding a big bream on the “glo” plug, I guessed it weighed 1-1/2 pounds so I called it a day. Catching them on this light stuff was fun, but still, casting was a problem for me!

While I was fumbling around Ralph caught 4 nice, bass!