Every year as far back as I can remember my family and I would trout fish together at our Cabin in the Allegheny National Forest. I began trout fishing at a very young age using the traditional child set up, “Zebco and night crawlers”. As the years went by I began to notice people fishing different ways. At the age of 10 I learned a little thing about fly fishing and what it consisted of. At the age of 11 I got my first fly rod. It was a Browning 9′, 5wt., 2pc. combo with a Medalist reel. Obviously, this was a starter kit that would lead me to an obsession like no other.
From time to time people will ask me, “who got you into fly fishing?” or “does anyone in your family fly fish?” The answers to questions like this, is simply, no. I have no family members that fly fished before me. I had no friends my age that were doing it. Where did this urge to fly fish and learn the sport come from? Sometimes I think about what it is that made me so passionate about this sport. The only thing I can think of is that somewhere down the genetic line I must have had a great great great grandpa that fished the beats on a rock we call Ireland or in the mountains of Germany. It’s either that, or Baby Jesus randomly decided to bless me with this fly-fishing frenzy. Maybe that’s just the Easter holiday spirit in me talking. Regardless, whether it’s in my genetic code from unknown ancestors, or a God-given gift, I love to fly fish, period.
Since I have been fly fishing I have gotten friends and family members involved in the sport. Some of them still chuck bugs others have put it on hold for a period of time and a couple are still waiting to learn. No matter what experience they have it always seems to be that the fly rods make it to the forest for the annual trout fishing weekend. Sometimes the rods don’t make it out of the tubes mainly because of alcohol related excuses. This year I hope to see the fly rods make it out of the tubes for two people in particular, my father and my 79-year-old grandfather. In most cases when you experience something in the outdoors, it is your father or grandfather teaching you. This is my opportunity to return the favor for everything they have taught me. As silly as that might sound, fly fishing is very important to me and to see them learn something from me to catch fish would make it all complete for me. With that said hopefully they will get out there and chuck bugs with us bug chuckers.
This year Steve-O will be joining the annual trip to the forest. We will be floating the Clarion on Friday. We will put in at Ridgway and float down to Portland Mills. I did this float last year with my brother behind the oars and I caught one Brown Trout that pushed 18 ”. On Saturday Steve-O will experience the true meaning of being lost as we go deep into the forest to fish waters that do not get pressured a lot. I expect to hear him say “Where the F%$# are we” at least a few times. Sunday is still to be determine. We will have a post up in a week and half time on the fishing in the Allegheny National Forest.