The Dangers of Learning to Fly-Fish

Written by: Barbara Clermont

The Dangers of Learning to Fly Fish

Barbara geared up and ready to go.

photo Courtesy Steve Thomas

My interest in fly fishing emerged the moment I stepped foot in the Orvis store in
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
. Once every two weeks, I would go by and visit. I finally landed a position as a sales associate, and my thirst for knowledge about fly fishing grew even further. I thankfully acquired a couple of great “hand-me-down” rods from Jan and Mark, both of whom were previous fishing managers, and they took the time to patiently educate me on the sport.

Mark and I both had the day off together, which was rare, so we decided to go fly fishing for bass. At the pond, we found a small group of carp and prepared to approach them. Mark showed me a method of keeping the fly in your hand to prepare for quick delivery of the line. We walked along the steep hill around the pond toward the carp. Mark stepped back and told me to go for it. I was very excited, so I picked up the pace and suddenly found myself falling to the ground. (I am embarrassed to say it was not even a graceful fall.) I started looking around to see who else witnessed this, but then realized I was in so much pain, I didn’t care.

I had the fly embedded in my finger—I had no idea such a small fly could cause so much pain! Mark then told me he couldn’t remember whether he debarred the fly or not, and I sent a quick death look his way. He’d previously told me several “hook” horror stories that involved the emergency room, and I honestly thought that’s where we were headed. I tried to pull the fly out, but stopped due to the extreme pain. Mark suggested a method of pulling the fly out with the use of a string that gets wrapped around the hook bend. I looked at him with disbelief and thought he’d lost his mind. Another minute had passed as I reviewed my options, but I couldn’t come up with anything better. So I gritted my teeth and pulled out the hook firmly, but slowly, and the pain brought tears to my eyes.

I got up, grabbed my gear, looked toward the pond, and asked Mark if the fish were still there. We both laughed—of course they were long gone. How could they still hang around after that fall? We both agreed that it felt as if I had broken the sound barrier when I hit the ground. We continued to fish for another hour, without success, but we had a great time!

I learned four important lessons:

1. A little humiliation is okay.

2. Do not attempt to run sideways on a slope.

3. Don’t run with a fly in your hand.

4. De-barb your hooks!

Barbara Clermont is a sales associate at Orvis Myrtle Beach.

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