Family fishing trips are some of the best trips. Gary brought his grandson Ellis on this trip to help him with his casting and naturally the catch-rate. I used to have to travel for hours to my grandparents and then we would add even more miles to get to Reelfoot Lake or Midway Arkansas, where we would spend days fishing. Ellis is lucky to have his grandparents real close, so a float for a day doesn't require a bus ride or time in the airport just to get there. Like I said he's a lucky guy.
So, Gary's plan was to get Ellis into a casting, mending and hookset routine so their trips out West can be more productive on the fishing side. Ellis could cast pretty good before he got on the drifter, but we still found some things to work on. He's a polite young man and a good listener, so I didn't mind helping where I could and he didn't mind listening and learning.
While we waited for just the right time to push away from the gravel bar, Ellis began refining his cast. Gary and I stood outside the boat as Ellis began his work. At first he had the sidearm cast going, which when casting to the starboard side was going to cause some problems for the old guys in the middle and back seat of the drift boat. We worked to raise the cast more over the boat, so we didn't get hooked throughout the day. We talked our way through that exercise and tried several different techniques to stop the forearm from dropping. Finally we landed on the right words and Ellis began bringing the cast over the boat.
We shoved off on higher and stained water, but soon both Ellis and Gary were hooking fish on less than perfect conditions. We spent the day hooking fish and bringing them to the net. There were very few rises on the trip. This day gave me a chance to try a couple new midge patterns across a few of the better shoals. People who fly fish and tie their own flies are always tinkering with different patterns. The other day I heard about a type of Zebra midge that is tied with flash vs. wire. So I clamped some hooks in the vise and tied a few, then finished them off with some Clear Cure. The pattern worked well which means we will be fishing it under various floating things throughout the Spring.
The guys brought their share and some other angler's share of fish to the net throughout the first part of the day. Ellis began picking his water. On one particularly good stretch of water Ellis spotted an old blowdown. He dropped the nymph just upstream and the fly tumbled past the structure. The indicator dipped, Ellis set the hook and played a pretty nice rainbow to the net. At that moment I think Gary and I both realized that Ellis "got it".
As the afternoon changed to evening they continued casting, mending and then setting the hook. Only the weather changed. The weather went from cloudy to a light rain and then as we began our final push toward the ramp the light rain turned to an outright downpour. We stowed the rods and made our way to the gravel bar at the ramp. The drifter was drained of the rainwater and loaded on the trailer. And, now I think Ellis is all warmed-up for that trip out West while Gary has yet another reason to go to the river.
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