My brother Dan and I recently fished the Tuckasegee River. It’s a trout river in North Carolina. Dan is a masterful fisherman and I am decent. My brothers and I loved fishing as kids. Our dad would take us fishing on many Saturday mornings. We fished for bass back then with heavy lures and rubber worms. Dan traveled out west for a summer and learned to fly-fish. In fairness, my dad tried to teach both of us to fly fish as kids, long before Brad Pitt made it popular when he starred in the beautiful film A River Runs Through It.
On our recent trip, we were riding along towards the river. He said, “Let’s stop at the fly-shop first. I want to ask where we should fish.” I told my brother, “I doubt we need to stop. It’s a smaller river. But if you feel like you need some help, we can stop.”
We stopped at a fly-shop in Dillsboro. The owner said to us, “If you’re fishing the Tuck, you only need these three flies. I could sell you all of these other fancy ones, but these three will catch you fish. And here’s where you need to fish.” The owner circled the access points on the map he gave us.
We purchased a few flies and off we went. I fished for an hour with very little to show except a few lost flies. I could see down the river that Dan was spending most of his time hooked on fish.
After he netted his forth fish he motioned to me, “Will, I want to put you onto some fish. Fish this spot. It’s where the owner told us to try.” I waded over. It was a smaller, slower moving section of the river that had been divided by an island. I fished the seams below the rocks near the bank and the water was slick and green from the reflection of trees. I landed three trout. My brother is merciful.
At the end of the day he said to me while were loading up our gear, “When you’re fishing a new river it’s well worth the time to learn from a guide who knows what they’re talking about. Follow their advice.”
I didn’t like to admit, but he was right. To master a craft you need a teachable spirit.