I was raised chasing trout in the lakes and streams of Wyoming. The Wind River and Big Horn mountain ranges were the year-round weekend destination for my family of six, and we all fished. I fell in love with the a brookie's blue halos at the age of four, and remember vividly when my father showed me a cutthroat for the first time in the Big Horns. Most of my earliest memories involve either a stick being poked into a campfire, a fishing rod next to some water, or a hike between the two. Two of my three brothers have passed on. They were both avid anglers as adults and used fishing to brighten their short and troubled lives. Much later in life as I taught my own young children to fish, I realized how much time and effort it takes to fish with your children. It's worth every minute.
I didn't take up fly fishing until my college years at the University of Wyoming. My wife and I met there, got married while we were both still undergraduates, and discovered how easy and fun it was to spend the afternoons and evenings fishing in the hills and mountains outside Laramie. I spent one evening, with nary a nibble on my spinning lures, jealously watching a gentleman repeatedly haul in trout after trout using a fly rod. I was hooked. My first setup was a cheap-as-possible combo from Cabela's. Their Sydney store was only a 2 hour drive from Laramie, and we loved driving. I taught myself to cast well enough that I could sometimes land a small dry fly or grasshopper where I wanted, and was occasionally rewarded with a visible strike. No doubt I developed bad habits that still hinder me to this day, but I've always done well enough to keep coming back and trying again. Unlike my foray into golf.
I moved to Minnesota in 2005, far away from my native habitat of cold, clear mountain creeks. In 2011, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Shaky hands and stiff fingers are making it increasingly difficult to tie knots, and muscle rigidity makes it ever more challenging to cast a fly rod. I likely have a limited amount of "time on the river" left and I mean to make the most of it. I have no intention of whining about my fate publicly. This is intended to be a positive outlet. (And this is MUCH cheaper than psychotherapy.)
On my initial outing of 2015, I found that Parkinson's Disease (PD) progression over the winter had made my questionable casting skills even more questionable. Because PD affects muscles on my right side more than my left, I spent the rest of the year re-learning to cast with my left hand. With good instruction, I'm now able to cast somewhat better with my left than I ever did with right hand before PD.
I challenge you to look for the rough bits of humor that I try to integrate into my writing. Some of these topics are a tad heavy, and I will try my best to lighten them. Feedback & comments are welcome and appreciated.