In February of 1996 i was devastated to learn my dad had passed away. I was only 13 years old at the time and he was my fishing and hunting buddy.
I did not realize at the time what i was going to gain. Up to this point in my life i fished on weekends with my dad for scup and bluefish which he sold to a list of people in his "black book" for extra money. I had purchased a south bend fly rod with some money i earned the summer before on my first job, yet I knew nothing about fly fishing, and i only saw people do it in magazines. Luckily one of my dads long time friends, Jan Darula, was an avid fly fisherman. During the winter i expressed and interest in learning how to cast. The spring that followed my father's death, Jan took me under his wing and spent a lot of time with me showing me the ins and outs of fly fishing. Before long i was able to cast as well as tie a few flies.
In May of 1996 Jan invited me to go to Martha's Vineyard with him to go fishing for a whole week. I really needed to get out of the house because of all the services and phone calls and people stopping by. Thank God i have a cool mom who was willing to let me take off time from school to go fishing. On the ride up we stopped at Eastman's tackle shop in Wharham. Here i bought my first real fly rod. There were two rods that were each about $100. The man behind the counter took me across the street on the post office lawn and let me cast them. The choice was between a Reddington Red Start and a St. Croix. I chose the Reddington Red Start, 9wt. It is a dog by today's standards but for the first time since my dad passed away i felt like i was on cloud 9. We then left for the ferry over to the island. The sights of woods hole amazed me. the ferry was massive and i had never seen a car go on a boat let a lone several. There was turns diving all over the place in Vineyard sound and we even saw fish blitzing next to the ferry, 45 minutes later i laid my eyes on The Vineyard for the first time, and i was overtaken by emotion. Some times you just get that feeling that something really good was going to happen. To this very day i get the same feeling when i get on island. After arriving at the house Jan presented me with my first fly reel, a new Medalist, loaded with 30lb backing and an airflow fly line. He showed me how make a leader by looping 30lb and 15lb mono together. Finally he gave me a small chest pack and a bunch of flies.
After dinner we ran down to Lobsterville Beach. The new rod, with its clean full wells grip, was rigged with an olive surf candy and I had my home made stripping basket loaded. The weather was clear, no wind, but the temperature was cool. I could not wait to get down to the beach and get into the action. Several casts into my first outing i noticed fish crushing sand eels right at my feet. On my next cast i felt my line come tight and i was on! From the moment i landed that fish to now salt water fly fishing has been a major part in my life. During the years leading to this moment i have had made several friends, gotten in trouble, missed school, work, and even gone broke a few times, all due to the pursuit of salt water fly fishing. My next post will high light some of major points to help you get into salt water fly fishing.