Way More than Fly Fishing Alone!

My son Ryan is a journeyman machine builder for JR Automation Technology of Holland, Michigan and works with two other journeyman machine builders, Mike and Jim, who is Ryan’s boss. Ryan asked if I would take them fly fishing for steelhead since both are such good friends on the job and who support one another in all kinds of ways.

Of course, the answer was “Yes!” So, today we fly fished Michigan’s Muskegon River for steelhead. We covered a ton of very skinny water  (a record 25 year low flow) on a bright sunny day that rendered the fishing very difficult to say the least, but the guys never tossed in the towel, despite the fact that the few steelhead we hooked through much of the day, the guys lost. Nonetheless, they pressed on, and it paid off late in the day with the steelhead the guys pose here and others hooked but lost as well.

Jim, who had never fly fished before, let alone for steelhead, cast, hooked, and landed the big buck he holds on a #12 green caddis. As the expression on Jim’s face shows, he was one very happy camper! And, well he should be, given how tough the fishing was today and his rookie fly fisherman status.

For Mike and Ryan who have landed steelhead before, seeing Jim accomplish something he may well have thought he simply wouldn’t be able to accomplish meant a ton.  High fives, smack talk, and cheers marked the moment I hosted the steelhead into the boat as the guys congratulated Jim for his catch. Truly, I have little doubt that the perseverance and ultimate success Jim realized today, as well as that of the other guys, will cement their friendship all the more.

In short, the day served to remind me, once again, that fly fishing is about the fish, to be sure, but it’s way more than that when one can do it with people who are one’s friends. And, for the guide, to be a part of an experience like that of today, is flat-out heartwarming and fun to the max. Indeed, I’m still smiling even as I type this report.

Captain Tom Kuieck