By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
I sit on the bank of the War Fork River, trying to thread a 2x tippet through the eye of a dainty parachute Adams. It has been about 10 minutes of futility with gnats constantly dive-bombing my eyeballs. They say the eyes go first and it appears I am to that point.
Why couldn’t it have been the ears? Just up the river I’m pretty sure the entire Honey Boo Boo family is waist deep in their cut off shorts and tennis shoes. It’s just one more reason not to eat any fish that I might catch.
Not that catching a fish is much of an option. I can’t even tie on bait because I cannot put the hair-thin line through a tiny eyelet.
Fly fishing is for the patient. It is the Zen of fishing with its quiet rhythm and subtle presentation. Tippet is the tiny line you tie onto a leader, which is attached to fly line, which is attached to backing. This gives you something like 200 yards of line on a rod that I will be casting about 25 feet. I won’t need that much line unless I hook Sugar Bear that is wading above me and he takes off for the hills.
A parachute Adams is one of the more common flies and has proven in my experience to be just as effective at not catching fish as anything else I could tie on. I would have better luck trying to stab the fish with a fork.
Then again my struggles are also the product of where I am fishing. Last time I was here the fish laughed at me until I drove to Family Dollar for a cheap can of corn. When I put the corn on a hook they thought it was a Fourth of July picnic. I caught a lot of fish after that. All of them packed side to side would not have filled a sardine can.
Fly fishing is also apparently for those with perfect eyes. I try squinting and holding the hook up to the sun before swallowing my pride and getting a bigger hook.
My optometrist had been telling me for years that I was getting to the age I would need reading glasses. One even prescribed bifocal contacts. I had never heard of such a thing. I felt like the world was a spinning optical illusion. Then I changed optometrists. Then I bought reading glasses.
Mostly the glasses are for reading pill bottles and maps. Both of which can kill if you don’t read them right. Maybe I should get another pair for when I need to bait a hook. I am stubborn, but if you spend more time baiting the hook than fishing you have to take drastic measures.