“If people concentrated on the really important things of life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.”
~ Doug Larson
A few articles back I wrote about fly fishing, today I write about my first day on the San Joaquin for the opening weekend of trout fishing.
After that article went to press a patient of ours came in and we started talking about the post and the fishing up and around FresYes.
Knowing I’m a bit of a purist on such matters and a bit of a nut when it comes to no effort being to big for the reward he pointed me to Jimmy Morales at the Yosemite Fly Shop in Oakhurst and said “If you want to learn fly fishing, Jimmy is the Man”. Now knowing my friend and myself I knew if he was going to recommend anyone to me with that kind of remark they must be all that and a bag of chips. A quick google search and I had my prey locked and loaded in my phone and I soon had Jimmy himself on the line. Once we started to chat I’m not sure who reeled who in but it wasn’t long and a trip was set to take my wife and I up onto my favorite river the mighty San JO in search of rainbow trout on opening weekend.
That day was last Sunday.
My wife and I drove from FresYes to Oakhurst and met out day guides Dillon and Sean at 8 am and once loaded up it was back on the road heading to the Upper San Joaquin. The long and windy road, yes there is a song lyric in there somewhere, rolled past quick enough and we soon parked and started to gear up for the 500′ drop from the car to the Uber secret spot they had picked out for us.
Within 3 casts I had my first hit! Only a fingerling but I had my first wild rainbow on a fly line and my heart raced like I just caught a Super Bowl touchdown. The day went on and Ruste and I both had many more catches and a lot of near misses. The Sierra Fly Fisher crew not only put us in the right spot but coached us with the right level of skill, encouragement and local knowledge that we were able to fish like seasoned vets and not beginners like myself at least.
As the day wore on and as I lost my Galaxy 5 in the river, I busted off a few more flys than I’d like to admit and fell neck-deep more than once into the chilly spring waters a feeling came over me so overwhelming that I’d be a liar if I said any of that really bothered me.
So I lost my phone, my wife is glad…… so I had to get a new fly or five retied, so I got wet all over……….
It didn’t matter one bit.
“If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.” Zane Grey
The part that mattered was I went on an adventure.
I went on adventure with my bride, my favorite person.
I went on adventure on my most favorite of rivers and I guess you can say I paid the toll in my overly priced ball and chain of a cell phone.
The reward I received was an amazing day up above FresYes on our home river, made some wonderful memories with my wife. We both caught at least 10 fish each and returned them to the water as we made some new friends who are out in the wild teaching others the best parts about living and learning in the wild of California.
Its my belief that the forest lands belong to We the People, its up to us protect them as we enjoy ourselves so that our childrens-children will be able to do the same adventurous things we enjoy today. I’m not saying we need more monuments or parks, I’m saying we should respect the lands and wildness. I’m saying clean up not only after yourselves but also pick up after those who did not, I’m saying do not take more than you need and I’m saying keep our wild places wild and free for all users in the years to come. Hunt, Fish, Camp and most of all preserve our wild places as you chase your dreams. We owe it to each other as Americans and lovers of the outdoors.
“The finest gift you can give to any fisherman is to put a good fish back, and who knows if the fish that you caught isn’t someone else’s gift to you?” Lee Wulff
For more information on fly fishing with Jimmy Morales and the Sierra Fly Fisher go to www.sierraflyfisher.com and tell them Mark Sasser and FresYes say thank you.