I am not an avid outdoors woman–surprise! However, Nate is quite the outdoorsman. He loves to fly fish, hunt, camp, hike, bike, snowboard, and explore. I enjoy variations of those activities but I am a true fair weather Oregonian at heart; I prefer to be out in mild temperatures and prefer even more to be close to civilization for post-adventure sustenance. I spent my youth swimming in an indoor pool; Nate spent his living in outskirt towns in Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska. We’re the perfect match!
According to my dear husband, some of the best fly fishing in the world exists in our backyard of The Last Frontier. He spends every chance he can (not much these days with two littles at home) heading out to fish, the more remote the better. His greatest wish in life is that I, too, will grow obsessed with fly fishing and want to go out with him. And bring the girls. Make it a family affair. A nice little Saturday, you know?:) So, I gave it a try.
My dad was a fisherman so I am no stranger to a fisherman’s ways. However, I have never fly fished before and it is kind of its own separate beast. I won’t bore you with the details of the flies, various rods, different casting techniques, blah blah blah. Mostly because I still don’t know.
I learned that fly fishing is like any other sport: if you watch someone who is very good, it looks incredibly easy. When you try it as a beginner, you may resemble a toddler attempting to jump on one foot. You feel awesome, but you look like an uncoordinated mess.
I also learned that having Nate attempt to teach me was not the best idea. It made for a fun family day, but perhaps is not the key to everlasting happiness and/or fly fishing success.
Nate said learning how to fly fish on the Kenai River is like…well, he didn’t give me an analogy. He just said it is really, really hard. That only makes me feel 3% better for not catching anything. I said I envisioned a magnetic pull enticing the fish to my bright pink and glittery fly. He said I was describing the girls’ fishing game for the bathtub. I really think that game is onto something!
I brought my favorite beverage to consume, which was much needed after a day of taking directions from Nate and casting 1000 times (actually a legit shoulder workout). I was hoping to cheers in celebration to catching my first (huge) salmon but instead we cheers’d to a fabulous day, trying new things, no rain, and not getting swept away by the current.
Nate is already dreaming of the fishing trips we can all go on. I admit, I understand the obsession. I found myself saying “Just a few more casts” over and over again. I thought the next one might be the one. The potential to catch a fish was an annoying tease and I felt like I’d given up by going home empty-handed. However, I don’t know if I’d call myself a fisherwoman just yet. Perhaps I’ll wait until fishing in real life has magnetic pulls.
(Photography by Kristian Irey)