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celticfisherman
04-12-2009, 11:08 PM
When a man decides to pick up a fly rod he takes a mental step into another world. Fly Fisherman are a unique lot. Individualists, puritans, sometimes fanatical in their devotion to fish species, rod companies, and some of us to types of fishing.
Fly fishing is not just a form of fishing. It is a form of artistry in motion. It is your rhythm used to execute a cast. It is the way you view the line when it stretches out before you right before landing on the water’s surface. The water frozen in your guides on a cold winter morning on a steelhead stream. The burn of salt when a red fish rips away opening that cut on your finger again. You can remember in that instant the tarpon you hooked that burned that groove into your stripping fingers.
Fly fishing to me is all of this plus the people. The obnoxious keys guide I would have happily thrown off the boat. The old guide who taught you the double haul. The 25 redfish day with your close friends in the middle of February with the winds howling 25 knots. Meeting your heros and discovering they dream of chasing bream and shad the same fish you cut your teeth on.
I quit fly fishing a few years ago due to a torn rotator cup and haven’t picked up a long rod in two years. Prior to that for more than 15 years I had chased coldwater species like trout all over the country. Then I discovered salt water fly fishing and tried hard to follow in the footsteps of my hero Flip Pallot. I chased tarpon, reds, jacks, permit, bones, dolphin and speckled trout around Florida. Occasionally I was successful but more often than not I just came back with a good story. After all it’s not the catch that counts... It’s the memories created during the search.
Back this past winter I stumbled head long into a new passion. I started fishing from a kayak and the exercise to my shoulder muscles from paddling seems to have done a lot to heal the muscles. I discovered I could throw a fly rod all day again and now with less pain than even before the tear.
This has brought back memories and the desire to chase anything and everything with a fly rod (almost I still don’t get the carp craze). I find myself reading forums dedicated to fly fishing all the time now and looking at fly patterns and wondering how they will perform on a particular stretch of water or pond.

http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii310/celticfisherman/celticfisherman.jpg

The picture above was taken by Steve Davenport of Dppoppers (www.dppoppers.com) while fishing together July 3rd on a small public lake on the western side of my home state of Georgia. Steve ties some of the most amazing flies I have ever seen. Stealth bombers that will catch you with their simplicity and craftsmanship probably even faster than a nice largmouth.
On this particular day we were just bumming around. I happened to be on Steve’s side of the state for a meeting and Steve was working from home that day. We met up about 4:30 and headed to the lake after loading my kayak in the bed of his dodge truck with the oldest most fishy smelling Wilderness Systems Ride I had ever seen. Steve unfortunately pressure washed that boat the next day. I am not sure if he has caught a fish since.
We launched from the small park and headed down the lake. There was a big cove at one end of the lake that is covered in grass and a few creeks coming into it. When we finally made our way back there I stood up and started casting around the edges of a small channel that ran into the woods. Three casts and I had my first Largemouth of the day and my first kayak fly fishing bass. I caught him on a small crease fly Steve has just started tying.
Steve picked up one as well and we fished the back of this cove thoroughly. Well till the bugs came out. Then being the all prepared fly guys that we are out came the stogies. Good cigars only enhance the fishing experience.
The afternoon was hot and still. We fished around a couple of channels and a few root balls that were in the lake. I snatched a bream thru the air when I set the hook on him. Steve laughed so hard I thought he might fall out of the boat. This little bream threw a wake he came after my stealth bomber so hard and fast. If you have ever seen a red fish in just inches of water charging a top water plug well so had this bream apparently. He really had a napoleon complex.

http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii310/celticfisherman/IMG_0084.jpg

We picked up a few fish throughout the evening including this nice bass Steve caught out of a school we found chasing bait. It was a grand afternoon with a good fishing buddy.
My experience in warm water fly fishing has been limited to a few bream and shellcracker until lately (thanks to Steve and a couple of other guys). Now I am chasing bass everywhere and thinking of taking my fly rods on the next trip down the Ocmulgee River. I have been taking off more and more to fish a few small local ponds and just carrying my 4 wt and my 8 wt rods.
The last few months have been a great learning experience. From learning about kayaks to taking my first trip down Smith Shoals. However rediscovering fly fishing has been like returning home after a long absence. It is comforting.




(I wrote this early last year after picking up my fly rod for the first time in several years)

Paymaster
04-13-2009, 11:42 AM
Ole Steve D is a fine fly tyer. I have had the pleasure of watching him tie a time or two. Makes some fine poppers as well. Oh and he loves BBQ too.:cheers:

Swamp Angel
01-23-2011, 10:14 PM
Here I am, more than a year and a half after your original posting and fully enjoying your post. I'm rather new to fly-fishing and have much to learn from all you old pro's. I'm deadly with my spinning rigon the 'Hooch, but there's something about the way y'all fly-fishermen do it that calls me over to the "dark side".

I'm looking forward to improving in my casting proficiency to the point that I am actually mildly competent. A couple of years on the 'Hooch casting Panther Martin spinners has me comfortable in the knowledge that I know where the trout are, it's just a matter of learning to fish for them in a different manner.

I have yet to hook the first fish on a fly rod, but already I find that casting, mending, and stripping are salve for the soul.

Thanks for your post of nearly two years ago. It's fresh to me, and I'm eating up every word I can find from you old hands in this forum.

-Swampy

Randy
01-23-2011, 10:21 PM
And sadly old Celticfisherman ain't fishing much these days either. But I am going to get him back on the water soon.

Swamp Angel
01-23-2011, 10:40 PM
Randy,

You be sure to do that. I fully enjoyed reading his post and felt as though I was sitting at the feet of my grayed and wizened elder.

I'm reading through the entire fly-fishing forum bit by bit, and learning an enormous amount from all y'all old hands.

I hope to provide some useful information here by posting after each and every trip to the 'Hooch, but I am rather inexperienced in fly-fishing and fear that I may offend some with my ineptitude in this endeavor.

Take care of that ol' feller. He has a way with words that reaches into my soul, and I'd like to hear a bit more from him. And that goes for you too, if you're an acquaintance of his. I'm eagerly awaiting any stories, lore, or information you may be willing to impart. At the age of 42, I still listen with the ears of a six-year-old when it comes to the stories of the freedom and bounty of the outdoors that God has given us to enjoy.

Respectfully,
-Swampy

Randy
01-24-2011, 08:27 AM
Funny thing is Celtic is not as old as you. Just wise in his years. And a good man and friend BTW.