I just returned from a trip up north for a little Fall fly fishing. The weather was unseasonably warm, which was fine with me, but it did have some drawbacks. First it put off the Blue Winged Olive hatch. Second I took my cold weather sleeping bag which was a little too warm for 60 degree nights….but, I survived. My brother from Ludington showed up Saturday night. We’ve been trying to get together for a fly fishing trip for long time. He has never been fly fishing. I was supposed to give him a few lessons. But, as my luck goes, I brought three fly rods and only one reel. After exploring the North Branch for awhile we made our way back to the main stream where there was more room to cast. I gave him a quick lesson, but he wasnt up for it. I am always hesitant to teach fly casting for a few reasons. Most of all, there’s a lot to learn and if you’re not serious I’m not wasting my time. After a few half hearted attempts at casting I took my rod back and quoted Norman Maclean, “nobody who did not know how to fish would be allowed to disgrace a fish by catching it.” And, so that was the end of his lesson. I seem to be the complete opposite of all my brothers and perhaps that’s why I chose the sport of fly fishing. They have always been more athletic than I. They were blessed with quickness, and power…but lack any sort of grace. My brother casted my rod as though it was a tennis racket. I gave him some yoda advice….”you must unlearn everything you have learned”, but that didnt help either. It was tennis casting or nothing. As much trouble as he was I missed him when he left Sunday morning. I stayed one more day which meant spending a night alone along the river. It was peaceful as you might expect. I made a nice fire, watched a Grouse walk through my campsite, and listened to the Coyotes in the distance. I made mental notes of how the full moon made silhouettes out of the trees, how the birch leaves stood out among the Pines, and the bright spawning colors of the Brook Trout seen that day. I tried not to think of all the work I have to do at home. Instead I picked up a fly fishing magazine and read it by the firelight. Interestingly enough there was an article about Slough Creek in Yellowstone….a place I have been a few times. The writer described the spookiness of the Cutthroat Trout and how he couldnt find the right fly to work. I had that same problem but found a simple solution. I wanted to shout out to him….hey dummy….dont fish to the fish you can see, fish to the fish you cant see. It worked every time for me. I guess fishing writers dont always have all the answers. I would say what fly he should use too but that’s my little secret =) And, fly fishing is all about secrets in some circles. Everybody has a secret spot or a fly that really works. There’s nothing wrong with keeping that to yourself. And, it feels good to share a secret with a close friend. Fishing has always been about the fishing and the friends you meet while fishing. To my brother….slow down, take a deep breath, relax and we’ll get you casting a rod some day.