First Time

Faced with the perennial “What should I get my husband for Christmas?’ question, Bernie’s wife decided to buy him a RiverQuest Charters fly fishing float trip, something totally new to him. I can’t imagine what he thought when he opened his gift and saw the RiverQuest gift certificate for two fishermen. I should have asked him, but I suspect his response may have been something like, “Whaaaaat?”
So, today was Bernie’s first time fishing with a fly rod, in this case for smallmouth bass on Michigan’s Muskegon River. Likewise, his guest, Mark, was new to fly fishing. Both showed up at the launch, though, ready to give this new experience (or in Bernie’s word, “excursion”) a shot so off we went.
Trips for first timers are first and foremost teaching by the guide and learning for the fishermen. The guys listened well, practiced their casting and line management industriously, and were rewarded with their first fish brought to hand with fly rods. The smallmouth weren’t huge, of course; size is not the point when learning to fly fish. No surprise, then, that large bass eluded the guys, though Bernie swung and missed on a very sizable smallmouth that blew up on his popper.
I love trips like this in which not only is the fly fishing all new but so, too, experiencing the river with its silence, beauty, eagle overhead, herons, turtles, and Mother Nature all ‘round.
That Bernie and Mark seemed taken with it all, made the day all the more special for yours truly.
So here are the guys with a couple of their well earned smallmouth bass.

Tom Kuieck