What DO I remember? I will never forget the pristine beauty, the fresh smell in the fall air, the isolation and the raw thrill of a fly-line flowing through the guides......
Have you been to the Grand River in Grand Rapids MI? Heard about it perhaps? OK, I will cut the romantic crap then. That smell was probably the homeless guy fishing next to me for hours on end. Forget about isolation, you fish shoulder to shoulder or you don't catch fish. As for the fly-line, well you may have a fly-rod but you don't actually use fly-line. The method of choice is called chuck-and-duck. You typically use amnesia running line, large (occasionally a full ounce!) lead weights and some sort of egg pattern with a spawn-sac hooked on. To call it fly-fishing is a stretch.
Which brings us to beauty. What the surroundings and methods lack the fishing has in plenty. There are so many varieties of Great-Lakes Salmonid runs in the Grand that there is something long and strong running at least 7 months out of the year.
|Not just Steelhead and Salmon! Lake-Run Brown, Grand Rapids MI, Fall 2003|
For a couple of years I was pretty hooked. My friends and mentors Kurt and Miles dragged me all over the state chasing the runs. I never was very good at fishing for Steelhead and Salmon and the passion faded eventually. Nevertheless it was a very important experience for me and as I lost interest other species stepped in. Smallmouth Bass, Pike, Carp and anything else that would grab a fly.
My case of the 'nids was very important. It taught me that the fly-rod can be used for more than kicking-babies (i.e. trout-fishing). It taught me how to picture what was happening below the water. It expanded my fly fishing horizons. Thanks Kurt and Miles!