I grew up (for the most part) in the good old USA. We moved around a lot but Ohio was the first stop. The first winter was both beautiful and shocking, and other than Ice Hockey, I didn’t really enjoy it. Had we been in the Rockies that may have been a different story, but Ohio was flat.
I didn’t come from a fishing family and my old man isn’t particularly fond of the outdoors, but it was something I had always been inquisitive about. Marlin was the fish I was most interested about, that big sharp nosed neon dinosaur in the deep blue, and it held its place firmly at the top until I was introduced to Flip Pallot on ESPN outdoors.
Through some sort of neurological anchor, the music from Walkers Cay Chronicles still gets my heart racing today. The narrative, the plot, the whole thing. This was a nature documentary on crack, and I was completely addicted.
I wasn’t yet aware of big inshore fish, but the day Flip raised a leviathan from under a Mangrove on a trip to the Glades with Herman Lucerne changed my life and ruined my concentration for the rest of the school year. Substitute Marlin for Tarpon, and Sport Fishers for Flats Skiffs. This was my poison.
I knew the ice on that lake in Beavercreek would eventually thaw, and in anticipation I bought a spinning reel and rod from a yard sale, as well as a vintage spoon and some segmented, steel lipped lures. On return from holiday it was now all liquid, and so off I went, casting and retrieving morning until night, which at 40 degrees north, is rather late.
I knew nothing very little about freshwater fish, other than the Largemouth Bass i’d seen Flip catch in a kayak, so what came out the water attached to my spoon later that week nearly gave me a heart attack. I know now that it was a big Northern Pike, but to a 9 year old it might as well have been a 300lb Poon. It cart wheeled out the water, head shaking, before peeling line off and throwing the hook on its second jump. It was a cruel trick for fate to play on me, and was enough to cement my addiction for life. I spent the next 3 months blind casting that dam for that damn Pike. I was hooked.
Then one day our neighbour Herbie walked up next to me with a fly rod in hand, and, after a couple casts shrugged his shoulders and gave it to me. Ive fly fished almost every week of my life since.