I am begining to understand it... the unspoken brotherhood that is of swingers. You see, my first encounter of a swinger just so happened to be the owner of anglingobsession.com. I told him I was working up in Sault ste. Marie close to the St. marys river and he told me to swing by his house before I head up there for the next work week, knowing I was centerpinning getting outfished by a swinger fishing flies so small I could not comprehend. He put his backup stick; a 14ft 9/10 imperial, reel, line, and even a box of his own tied flies in my hands. On top of that, I recieved a quick casting lesson. Who does that? Well, like I said swingers ..... do that and it's the unspoken brotherhood.
After taking that setup out a couple times, it wasn't long before I came to the realization I was going to need a casting lesson and I already felt sorry for whom ever was going to have work with my casting... if thats what you want to call what I was doing at the time. It wasn't two weeks before I found myself in a flyshop asking questions like a kid because I knew eventually I would need my own gear and be able to cast it. I will never forget being told by the owner, he could get me into a setup for around 700-800 dollars and casting lessons were like 50 or 75 dollars a hour. I walked out of that "high class" shop and thought, he can go kick rocks, becuase I will find a cheaper set up than that. Good old speypages classifieds helped me acquire a CND 14 expert 9/10 weight and a chincy,newer, made hardy reel with line for around 450, almost half the price!!!
I couldnt get myself to spend my hard earned dollars on a casting lesson, so for a while, ok maybe for like a year, I would take my spey rod out and end up with a new holes in my jacket and a lot of cussing, almost causing me to sell everything and resort to the centerpin( which my little sister could figure out in a day or two if I showed her how)... ooops did I just say that outloud? Sorry pinners, but it is true, once you get things dialed in, the only thing that changes is the number of fish caught.
Then something was meant to be, when Bryan (youngspey) was walking back to his truck with a old hardy perfect and a beautiful 15ft Meiser that I could tell had been getting fished hard. I drilled him with questions for about a half hour before he had to go, learning he had been casting for roughly 8 years now and gave up fishing with people because he is a ..... swinger and got sick of babysitting that were trying to learn without having heart in it. We kept in touch over the next couple weeks talking about lines and flies and I told him I could barely get my fly to land straight out. Bryan, without truley knowing me, only knowing how bad I wanted to learn, extended his couch to me for the next weekend. I was so excited I could not hold a conversation with anyone becuase I had one thing on my mind, a good chance, I might learn how to cast!! and that is what I did, Bryan spent a lot of time explaining and standing behind my helping me aquire two casts that I could start swinging flies and fishing with. THANKS BRYAN, you lit a fire under me becuase I will never forgot watching you cast out there!!! But again, who lets a total stranger sleep in his house and give him a weekend of his own time to better help somebody else.... a swinger does because of the "unspoken brotherhood"
So a year went by and I was getting my fly out there and catching fish but my mechanics were off... casting with no true anchor, having no control of my fly or my casts. Two months went by and I was heading out to the water and I ran into Dr. Joen Lee fishing the Canadian pool. I was sitting on a rock watching him cast in full amazement as he displayed true art in the air, placing his fly where ever he wanted. He reeled in and introduced himself, I was going to be on the water for three days for my Birthday and he explained he was visiting his old stomping grounds for 7 days chasing Atlantic salmon. I thought to myself, " I will be in the presence of one of best known casters for all three days." I remeber just sitting, having a smoke, watching "the Doc" and hoping someday I would be able to do that. The last day I was out there Dr. Lee put his beautiful bougle on my rod and spent a good hour or two explaining the use of an anchor and increasing rod speed throughout the cast to me... for free, simply because I was out there, trying so hard. I cant even begin to write how thankful I was for that.
It was about another year before I finally figured out what he had taught me and my casting shows that. It's not perfect and may never be, but it is becomming consistant and that right there is another great example of the "unspoken brotherhood." What I had once been told would cost me 75 dollars per hour was given to me at no cost because I was out there, trying. THANK YOU DR. LEE. I now try to pay it forward helping casters out there because we all know if you have 4 of 5 mechanics down, your cast will not go, but inside you feel like you're doing nothing right. Thats when just one tip, like slowly increasing your sweep, using the lift to initiate the cast, pushing up on the D formation, or loading your rod to the stop on the forward cast can make all the difference.
The most recent encounter of the brotherhood came this past week. I met an angler and good caster, Andy Schmidt. We talked several times briefly throughout the five days I was out on water and the last day when my mate and I were suppose to head home, we headed out for one more go at summer Atlantics. I told him to go ahead and fish becuase I wanted to say goodbye to Andy. Andy and I talked about flies and how special it was to be able to chase these wonderfu; fish with a fly. I hit a nice native rainbow after we talked but before he left and he asked me about my fly choice as he had just been swinging that hole. I gave him one for the pattern and then I took out my first married wing and knowing he was going to try and give it back, I put my box away and told him that one was for him... to fish. We said our goodbyes and he went on his way, and I went on mine. Not expecting anything in return I fished out the rest of night and when I got back to my car, as I packed away my "ripe" waders and gear, Andy pulled up next to me and jumped in his camper that was perfectly set up for a river bum and pulled out one of his beautifully hand made granite pedastools and said I want you to have this. I told him I simply could not take it for just a few flies, but he insisted. My buddy said to me as Andy drove off, I understand it... the unspoken brother hood of swingers. THANK YOU ANDY, I cant wait to tie with my newly acquired pedastool.
So there you have it, my personal stories of encountering this wonderful group of people that choose to use the very difficult method of angling, understanding, there is much more to fishing that actually catching fish. I have attached two beautiful fish I caught while I was up north for your enjoyment. Enjoy and as always Tight lines!! See you out there.