Published with NRS Duct Tape Diaries in July, 2018.
After running the Roaring Fork River for over a decade as a whitewater enthusiast, today, I was going to float at a different pace and learn how to fly fish.
I’ve known many anglers over the years, devotees of the church of the fly rod, but have never had a chance to learn the art myself. I was too busy running the gnar, I guess.
For today’s lesson, we were putting in at a favorite local spot known as ‘Westbank’ with plans to float ten miles into Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Although I had launched from that exact spot in a raft, ducky or mini max at least a hundred times at every possible level, I realized I was sort of standing around awkwardly like a tourist, trying to look interested in the new signage.
Having never held a fly rod before, and being barely competent with spinners, I had to get something off my chest before we even got in the boat, “So, just to let you know, I am petrified I will give one of you an earring accidentally.” “Nah, don’t worry about us, you won’t hook anyone,” said Ryan.
But from Aaron, I received a straight-faced story about how he had actually pierced his girlfriend’s ear with an errant fly a few years back. That was the first in a four-hour string of expert instruction, mixed with deadpan hilarity, topped with a few heartfelt confessions, and, I’m pretty sure, at least twelve bald-face lies. The banter between guides was something I could relate to, yet by the time the trip was over, I was no closer to distinguishing the lies from the truth. So at least that was similar to my previous river experiences.