People I met walking their dogs Sunday morning seemed amused by my getup.
One woman, walking what looked like a cockapoo-mix, smirked and asked, “No fish for breakfast?”
This happened at the Fel-Pro conservation area. I was wearing my fly-fishing vest and carrying a nine-foot fly rod. And, to top it off, I had on a brown Dalmore baseball cap with the bust of a 12-point buck embroidered above the visor.
There were more deprecating smirks later Sunday morning while fishing at various ponds and storm-water detention basins in Cary. I guess I was overdressed and asking for it. I felt as if I walked off the stage of a Medieval play with puffy sleeves and a codpiece and was trying to mix with normal people.
Some people get rubbed the wrong way by the mystique to fly fishing – the whole rodeo show of making a cast, for instance.
For me fly-fishing has its roots in literature – sophomore year English. Ernest Hemingway’s first book and my favorite is “The Sun Also Rises,” published in 1926. Before the bullfight part of the book, the person telling the story, Jake Barnes, goes on a fly-fishing trip with Bill Gorton, a fellow war veteran. They angle for trout up in the cold mountain streams of northern Spain. They befriend Wilson-Harris, a British war veteran, who shows his appreciation for a jolly-good time by giving his newfound American friends a book of hand-tied flies.
What made me buy fly-fishing gear was the book, “A River Runs Through It,” a novel by Norman Maclean, published in 1989, about brothers who fish the Big Blackfoot River in Montana. I prefer the book to the movie, starring Brad Pitt.
Thursday at the fishing pond in Hoffman Park, at the western terminus of West Main Street, I caught about 50 bluegills in a couple hours. It was a good time. The water was boiling with activity. Small and good-sized bluegills and sunfish – which are relatives of the black bass family – couldn’t get enough of my Adams dry fly.