Written by: Preston Ailor
[Editor’s note: Here’s a great email I received from blog reader Preston Ailor, a math and science teacher from Richmond, Virginia. As you’ll see, he took our “20 Days in September” challenge pretty seriously. We will announce the finalists of our photo contest next week.]
So I did it. I had to fish the last eight days straight, but I did it. And it was fun!
The beginning of September was easy, as I knew it would be. Labor Day came late and, as a teacher, that meant that I would have a full week without students. But as school started, and life and work and kid schedules filled up, it got predictably more difficult. But I learned a few things doing this.
I learned that opportunities are everywhere all the time. I kept my Recon with my new blinged-out gold Hydros reel in my car and actually used it. I found plenty of roadside distractions that I’ve been meaning to fish. I found fun little ponds and creeks and actually took the time to stop and find a safe place to park. I scouted places to stand and fish or a put-in for a canoe or kayak. I now no longer wonder if there are fish in there…there are, and I’ve caught them.
I learned that 10 minutes and 10 casts can really brighten up your day. Many days I took the long way to pick up my daughter from daycare to get some casts in. I got lots of odd looks standing there in a tie with my sleeves rolled up, slinging a fly rod. Sometimes I got skunked, so it was just practice. And my casting is the best it’s ever been because of it. Tighter loops, longer casts, and more accuracy. Sometimes I got a good hit in the first few casts, which turned a 10 minute trip into a “Where are you?” phone call or text. I’m sorry that I’m not sorry that the fishing was good and I was late.
I learned patience. I took my little girl with me five times, mostly on purpose. She had a great time. Poppers and bluegills were my grandfather’s ideal morning fly session. But nothing I caught or saw this month delighted me more than my daughter giggling uncontrollably at a bluegill blowing up on a popper and pulling the end of the fly rod.
I learned how to take a better picture. I’m super proud of the before-work pond pic of the reel and the cloudy day casting on the football field pic. Making me play with perspective and photo-editing tools really made things pop. It makes me want to invest in a better camera seeing as most of my pictures are on an iphone or a GoPro.
So thanks Orvis. I really enjoyed myself this September.