Photos By: Jamie Keown
Have you ever considered taking your special lady fly fishing?? To some the very thought sends them into panic mode, with night sweats and the whole shebang. Let's face it 99% of us aren't dating/married to an April Vokey type which means the night sweats are somewhat justified. I recently started dating someone and we've had the chance to go on two fishing trips, most recently this past weekend. She loves the outdoors and is eager to learn how to fly fish. After our most recent trip I got to thinking about the positives and negatives, and the do's and don’ts when it comes to fly fishing with your significant other. I'll share my thoughts on the subject but before I do I would just like to say there is no manual when it comes to fishing with your partner in crime and all opinions are mine and I fully expect to get some hate mail after writing this.... let the beating commence:
First off, everyone picks up on new things at different speeds. I know this may seem obvious but I found myself getting impatient with her for not throwing 50ft casts, with laser loops on the second outing. To some guys fly fishing comes as second nature and to others it takes months or years to gain confidence. She's no different. Practice patience you fool! The main goal I've noticed over my first two trips has been to catch a fish (if it were only that easy) so do your part on the first couple outings, which may require prayer, to help her get a fish in the net. This will keep her interested and prevent her from resorting to skipping rocks like a six year old. On our most recent outing I managed to help Jess hook a fish and while she didn't get the fish to the net she was noticeably pumped. Not sure if my teaching skills are that good or if my prayer game is off the chains, but either way I'll take it.
Ok, so I hate to beat a dead horse but here's the patience thing again... Once you have her on the water making reasonable presentations be prepared to help her wade. She's new to this and speaking from experience it's probably best to make sure she's at least outfitted with proper footwear. I failed in this arena, so don't be a jackass; get your lady some wading boots or at least make sure she brings along shoes fit for the job. Do walk ahead of her making sure to clear all obstructions and spider webs in your path (also experience). While snakes may be a common occurrence on trout streams apparently so are alligators (it's a new one for me). Be patient and be prepared to reassure your gal that you are on reptile watch and that no gator will be taking a leg from your leading lady. DO NOT hover. While it may seem like a good idea to supervise, while simultaneously critiquing her skills, it's not. I pondered this situation for a while and the more I thought back to when I was a rookie the more it made sense to leave my lady be. There's a different trigger for everyone and when it clicks she'll be more inclined to repeat those actions if the epiphany was hers and not yours. Lastly be prepared to lug enough shit for two because rest assured the "fanny" pack you have on does not go with her wardrobe and she wouldn't be caught dead in a fanny pack in the first place... maybe you can try for the vest, the choice is yours.
If all of the above sounds horrid but you still want to share your passion with your gal pal then teaching her in the first place may be better off left to a professional. Things can get a little testy during the first couple of outings as you untangle knots and look for water void of trees. You definitely don't want these feelings pouring into your relationship off the water and from my experience people tend to listen better to an unbiased third party.
In all seriousness I'm grateful to have found someone that is willing to get out there and enjoy the thing I'm most passionate about with me. Fly fishing will always be my escape and time with the bros, but I think I've came full circle in the fact that I now get as much enjoyment from passing my knowledge on to others as I do catching fish. Damn I'm getting soft...