Thursday, January 31, 2008

Summer of 90 - Part I

This past year a spent some time writing some of my first memories of flyfishing. I thought I would share a few of them again with some of those that did not get a chance to read them.

" Next to prayer, fishing is the most personal relationship of man." - Herbert Hoover

“Summer of 90’” Part I

It was a warm summer morning in 1990 I spent the morning in front of Jeff Bullock’s front yard casting his Grandfathers fly rod. Jeff and I took turns trying to keep the line from hitting the ground as we casted the old rod that had wear in the cork handle. “Dude hurry up it is my turn!” I was impatient as Jeff made his false casts over the lawn trying to hit the driveway.

Casting in Jeff’s yard was my first experience with a fly rod and I remember it like it was yesterday. It became an immediate addiction and it became a contest each summer day to see how far we could cast the fly line. Jeff and I argued at each other for “hogging’ the rod” as we each took turns casting to the second crack on the driveway and trying to beat our personal best.

One day I decided that I would approach my parents and see if they would help out our cause by purchasing another fly rod. I thought of the many different ways to approach them, trying to convince my father that they had to buy me the much needed fly fishing rod. I approached Dad and he insisted that I get a job and that I would then be able to make my purchase. I was age 15 and the thought of work didn’t sound right. No way was I going to give up the summer days to work at “Seaman James Bartley Restraunt” on Fort Union. I had spent my days the previous summer as a dishwasher in the restraunt scrubbing the remains of clam chowder pots that had been piled up and left for me each Saturday morning. I pledged an oath that I would never scrub another pot again and the thought made me cringe.

Somehow some way I would get a fly rod and it weighed on my mind each summer day. How was I going to pull it off? The summer was coming to an end I found myself spending time in the library off Foothill Boulevard flipping the pages of every fly fishing book I could find. Each book I read the more excited I became about fly fishing.

A family friend heard about my sad story and after finding out that I was so into fly fishing and had never done it before; he took it upon himself and sent me a package. I will never forget the day I walked in to the house and my mother telling me that there was a package for me sitting on the table. My father was home from work and my Grandparents were in Utah visiting us from New York. On the table laid a large brown package. “What could this be?” I pondered. It wasn’t my birthday but I thought it was probably something from my Grandparents; they always gave us a surprise when they visited us.

I carefully peeled back the brown paper….”NO WAY, NO WAY!!!” I think I ran around the house jumping up and down holding my new fly rod. The card said “Jason, I heard from your Dad how much you love fly fishing but that you did not have a fly rod. I hope you enjoy it! Sincerely, Tony Divino”. When I calmed down I could see the tears in my parent’s eyes as they saw how happy I was over my new gift. Before I could calm down my Grandfather pulled out a small box out of his suitcase and handed it to me. “What's this Grandpa?” I replied. “Just open it. It is a small gift from your Grandmother and me.” I opened the box and inside was a Pflueger Medalist fly reel. “Jason your parents told us about the fly rod that Tony had sent and we thought you would need a reel. Maybe tomorrow we can go get some line put on it for you”.

My mother took me down to Anglers Inn located in Sugarhouse and I watched the shop hand put the fly line on my new reel. Mom was patient and let me look at all the gear, the flies that were located in the glass bins. I was truly like the kid in the candy store and I thought that I would never make enough money to own all the items that I fell in love with that day in the fly shop. Mom seeing the look in my eyes pulled out her wallet and purchased the felt hat that I had tried on while in the shop.I kept telling Mom to drive faster as we drove home.

I could hardly wait to cast the line in the front yard. I ran inside and called Jeff. We spent that afternoon in my front yard casting line over the Aadnussons rose bushes and into their yard.

It was a summer morning in 1990 that I became addicted to fly fishing, and thus my life has been forever changed.

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