So it has begun… What you ask. The fading ability to tie on a small delicate fly. See, I have always been that guy, the guy with better than 20/20 vision. The guy that could tie on a fly in the middle of the night’s darkness without use of a headlamp. The guy that would often give my fellow fishing buddies a hard time about getting old, etc.
It all started a couple of weeks ago. One of my fishing partners and I arrive riverside pre-dawn to catch the early morning hatch before a day of work begins. The moon is still high in the morning sky. Waders are on, rods put together and the line is through the guides. We both select what we think the fish will be hitting on first thing in the morning. Small, 22-26 Trico flies.
My fishing buddy hands me the fly of his choice and humbly asked me to tie it on for him as he knows with no natural light, it will be a difficult task for him to do. I offer him a few jabs about getting older and eagerly take the fly from his fingers. I begin to thread the tippet through the hook eye. After a few unsuccessful tries, I make note that the hook eye must be filled with glue. While trying to clean the small hook eye, the fly falls to the ground. Now, you can imagine this, two grown men, on hands and knees with head lamps a-blazing, looking for a size 24 Trico fly. Not because the fly was so costly or took so long to tie, but because it could be the fly of choice for today’s fish. You never do know….
Not finding the fly, we select a different fly from the box, the tying on process begins again. Ok, this type 5x tippet is much too big, let’s go with 6x. After trying a few times, with 6x, we decide to yet again, clean the hook eye…. Many attempts were made, and we decided that the fish would not be able to see such a small fly in low light conditions, so I tied on a size 20… It worked.
This experience of not being able to tie a fly on really hit me… I am aging, just like everyone else around me. It is kind of funny how we recognize others aging process, but seldom see ours as clearly. The day ended very well. We hooked and landed many a fish that day, but not in early morning on a size 26 Trico’s.
Getting older simply means, we approach the water more wisely, cast with reason, achieve perfect presentations/drifts and catch many more fish than we did in our youth… Fish on.