A Small Brook, Connecticut – 1971

28 Jul

1971 was an interesting year for me. It would be the year, that at age 10, I would start two activities that would remain with me until this very day. The first was fly-fishing. The second was Karate-Do.

The fateful day that marked the beginning of my fly-fishing journey started less than promising. My family and I were scheduled to drive three and a half hours from our home in Cliffside Park, New Jersey to visit some distant relative, a cousin of my Mother’s, at their farm in Connecticut. Like I said, not a promising day. Naturally, at the age of ten, I was irritated at the prospect of wasting a summer day traveling to see relatives that I would never see again.

I endured the entire road trip in silence. After an eternity passed, we finally pulled into the dirt driveway that led to the relatives farm. I met my distant relatives and underwent the obligatory tour of the farm. After the farm tour, my mother desired to catch-up with her relatives. My father asked my brother and I if we wanted to go fishing at a nearby brook. My brother and I had been fishing with my father many times before. We jumped at the chance of once again fishing; even though it meant we would not hear the harrowing tale of my mother’s second cousin (once removed) and the goiter on her neck.

In a few minutes we were at the brook. My brother and I hooked up our poles and began to dig for worms to use as bait. We found enough to keep us fishing for a while, baited our hooks and began to fish. As I fished, I noticed my father had waded into the brook and was doing something I never saw him do before. He was not casting a worm like my brother and I were doing. I could not see a worm on the end of his hook. In fact, I could barely see anything at all attacked to his line. He would not cast with one swing of his arm. Rather, he would swing his rod back and forth a few times and let his line settle on the water so that it drifted a bit and repeat the process. I was mesmerized. I thought, “What the Hell was my old man doing?” Then it happened. I saw him lift his rod up. The rod bent against the strain of something attached to the end of the line. My father did not reel in the fish. Instead he “played” the fish with his left hand using the slack line that fell from his reel. Just then a fish, a beautifully rainbow colored sleek fish had jumped from the water. Upon seeing that fish, momentarily suspended and shining in the sunlight, the words “Holy crap!” escaped my mouth.

After a few more minutes passed, my father gathered the fish into his net and showed my brother and I his prize. It was the first time I saw a rainbow trout and it was glorious. I asked my father what he was doing and he said “Fly-fishing”. Since I was “old enough” he asked me if I wanted to try. I took hold of the fly rod. It seemed as tall as a tree. I swung it furiously back and forth like my father did. While my father’s casting was graceful, my first attempt was spasmodic at best. With practice, I was able to cast a long distance of about eight feet. But, it was enough. I hooked my own prize, my trophy. I had captured my quarry. It was a magnificent five inch bluegill. A wondrous moment. That little fish had answered the twitching, jerking, spasmodic call of my casting a delicate fly. It had invaded my mind. I myself was hooked on fly-fishing.

Needless to say, the ride home was more joyous than the ride to the farm. In two weeks, my father took me to the local Two Guys (a now defunct department store) and for the extravagant price of $ 9.99 I secured my own South Bend Junior Fly Rod and Reel Combo (line, leader and three of the “Guaranteed” World’s Best fishing flies included). Two months later, after a weekend of fly fishing, my father took me to the door of Sensei Thomas DeFelice’s Goshin-Do Karate-Do Dojo in Palisades Park, New Jersey. The year 1971 was to be a remarkable year in my life.

This Blogsite will continue to explore the symbiotic relationship between martial arts physical techniques, protocols and states of mind and the enjoyment of fly-fishing and the natural environment.

Young (one day Sensei) John’s Equipment Inventory:

Rod, Reel, Line: Unknown – borrowed from my father

Flies used: something with a hook and fur in a fly pattern called “Just cast the damn thing already”

Sensei John

Please feel free to view my other blog dedicated to exploring martial arts ideology and concepts as they can be applied to daily life. You may visit the blog at WWW.SenseiJohn.Wordpress.Com.

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