I was fortunate enough to try my hand at fly fishing, and doubly lucky that I got to do so with one of my very oldest friends.
My friends, though very different in all the ways you think would count — ethnicity, social background, geographical location; political and religious affiliation; chosen career, etc. — have one very important thing in common: They are all, in ways particular to them, what you would call kick-ass.
Kasey, my visiting pal, is no exception. She is quite the outdoorswoman; deer hunting — with a bow, I might add — fishing, kayaking, sport shooting and more. She’s never been afraid to play with the boys, and I live in awe of her enthusiastic and skilled approach to fields typically dominated by men.
That’s why I was extra excited to find out our guide for the day would be CWRAG’s Robin Meetz. She is another awesome lady, her career spanning across the medical field, outdoor industry and art. Self-employed, she takes a few weeks each year to travel to Haiti as part of a surgical team that attends to the needs of some of the world’s neediest peoples.
Like I said: kick-ass.
Robin was the perfect guide for us; patient, knowledgeable and fun. She taught us how the fish behave — trout are lazy, she said, preferring deep pockets of water or spaces behind rocks and debris where the water doesn’t move as swiftly — and where they were likely to be — in areas just beyond swiftly moving water, hanging out along the banks ready to dart out and snag the food that the current has stirred up.
She was infinitely patient with us as she taught us to cast, let out the line, allow the fly to move with the current as naturally as possible. She gave us gentle corrections and instilled confidence in us by praising our better moments. And she got us out of countless entanglements, cutting our lines from the scraggy bushes and leafless trees that lined the creek in Rocky Mountain National Park, as novice fisherman are wont to get caught on just about everything.
After several of these snags, I commented to my friend that Robin was like a mom taking two kids fishing; constantly responding to our needs. ‘My line is snagged; I’m not catching any fish; I think my fly is trapped under a rock.’ But never once did she show anything than patience and contentment with each rescue.
She wanted us to catch the fish. And, thanks to her excellent guidance, we did.
We saw few others that day; mostly older couples on vacation and a few men relaxing in the sunshine. I couldn’t help but wonder what they saw when they looked at us; three women, waders on and beer and rods in hand. For me, a once-terminally girly girl, it was a small triumph to know that I, too, could master the outdoors, if only I had the right teacher to show me how.
As we sat creekside enjoying much-needed food and beverage, the sun making its slow arch across the blue sky, I couldn’t help but smile. As I looked over at the two awesome, impressive women with me, I saw that they were smiling, too. Kasey turned to me and spoke a simple truth:
“Nothing beats a day in the creek.”