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EDITOR’S NOTE — Fly fishing ruined my life

There’s a good chance that, while you’re reading this, I’d rather be fly fishing than doing whatever it is I’m doing.
I’ve always been a fan of light tackle, but it wasn’t until a year ago that I first waded into a river with a borrowed fly rod in my hand.
My wife’s uncle, an avid fly fisherman, took me. He’s somewhere in the tropics right now, fly fishing for bonefish in the flats.
I caught three small brown trout on a little black pheasant tail that first day. I went out the next day and bought my first outfit.
And as luck — or my skills — would have it, I got skunked the whole rest of the year. The fish weren’t buying what I was selling. I nabbed a bluegill on a pond near Blowing Rock on a bass popper in June, but my guess is he was the dumbest fish in three states.
It was frustrating, to say the least. I still went to the rivers regularly, but I kept telling myself, in the back of my mind, that I probably wasn’t going to catch anything. So I didn’t.
This year has been different. I’m not in any danger of getting a syndicated fishing show on cable television, but I’m catching trout. Like anything else, fly fishing is a whole lot more fun when you’re getting the results you want to get.
There’s an art to it and I’m still fingerpainting. But few things can beat the rush of standing in the middle of the stream, dropping a dry fly near the bank and watching a brown break the surface of the water to strike it. Even the small ones put up a good fight.
The other sportsman out there know how lucky we are to live in a place where you can drive for an hour or 90 minutes and step out into trout water.
It’s a big part of the reason why, even though I’m not a North Carolina native, I’ve got no plans to leave.

Michael Gebelein is managing editor of the Lincoln Times-News.

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