Posts Tagged ‘Little E’

In case you missed, Nebraska has started it’s fall 2013 trout stocking schedule

Which means I have been out chasing my favorite fish, above and by far: the Rainbow Trout.

There isn’t a prettier fish around. Or one that is more fun to chase.

I have all sorts of things to say about chasing trout over the last week. But one experience takes the cake. One night this last week, Little E tagged along with me to catch a trout. She knows full well that the Rainbows are daddy’s favorite. And daddy desperately wanted to catch her one so she could hold one in her hands. Hopefully holding one would inspire a lifetime of awe in her, just as it had for me.

Well, they call it fishing for a reason. I got skunked.

Little E spent her time picking cattails to take home to mommy. Right toward sundown, when we were getting ready to call it a night, she pulled on my pant legs and asked if she could cast. I had my tenkara rod with me, and figured why not…

I had been messing around with a dry fly, as I had gotten a few pecks at it, but no takes. I didn’t think anything of the fly choice at the time; I just wanted her to cast the rod. So she began flinging the rod around. Her “cast” (using the word loosely) was pretty funny.

I was working with her to pick the line up, cast it, then count to five; to give the fish a chance to bite. An important skill for down the road I thought…

I thought…

When she went to pick up the line for a cast, she belted out “Daddy! I got a shishy!!!”

And sure enough, she did.

She pulled the rod back, almost instinctively. All I had to do was grab the line and flop it up on shore.

She was so excite… just look at that smile.

She even put it back in the water herself…

And then she wanted to keep going. And two or three casts later, up came another one…

That’s my girl!

Somehow, even the days I get skunked somehow turn out being pretty memorable

Read Full Post »


Sometimes the best fishing trips are ones that don’t have a single bite…

In order to give mommy sometime to get her projects done, Daddy and Little E planned a whole day out. She had been asking place that has bouncy castles, ball pits, and everything else that would make a three year old’s day. And seeing an opportunity to use this to my advantage, I struck a deal with Little E…

You see, she has not be “volunteering” to go fishing lately. She’s three and everyday brings with it a new revitalization of the knowledge that their is a whole world for her to discover.

And she loves to explore. The loss of my fishing body becomes a difficult pill to swallow.

So we struck a deal. If she would go fishing for a couple hours this morning, I would take her to the “play place”. At first the proposition only brought tears… “I don’t wanna fish; I just wanna go to the play place! I only want to do one thing!” But after a few minutes, she took the deal.

On the way to the lake, we talked about how “sometimes I don’t like to go fishing”, but only because she wanted to play. I can’t say I blame her.

But then we got to the lake… and out came the Sponge Bob fishing pole…

She marched me up and down the bank, to all of the “good spots”… the spots where she could drop her toy jellyfish tied to the end of her line in the water, and then she could retrieve it. Each time she did, she held it proudly in the air. She would march it over to me and ask, as I have done so many times for her, if I wanted to pet her “shishy”. And after a quick pet, she would have to put it back in the water… and make daddy say “bye-bye fishy”.

As we continued this process, it didn’t take her long to realize that daddy had not caught a fish yet… but she had caught lots of jellyfish. And she let daddy have it…

“I am a good fisher-girl. I a better fisher then you.”

That’s my girl. Rub it in…

No, I didn’t catch a fish; or even had a bite all day. But when I told Little E it was time to go to the play place, I caught the greatest line of the daddy…

“I don’t want to go, daddy! I’m not done fishing!!!”

Read Full Post »


Little E hasn’t wanted to go to the lake recently. She has been in a “Mommy’s Girl” phase. But this weekend we saw the roles reverse… for the first time in weeks!


It’s nice to be on favorite every once in a while. Letting her wear her toy fishing vest helped too…

What a great night!

Read Full Post »

For the record, I am pretty good at catching fish too…

I can’t think of a better way to introduce my new readers to Flies Over Nebraska then a story about Little E. I generally fly fish alone. I enjoy the solitude and the serenity. But if I ever do go with a partner, it’s my 2 1/2 year old…

Lately Little E has been mommy’s girl. She hasn’t wanted anything to do with her daddy. To give my wife some time to work on her projects, I decided Little E and I should head to the lake for some daddy-daughter fishing.

She screamed the whole way to the lake for her mommy… But we she got to the water and saw all the dandy lions to pick, she turned around.

And after daddy caught his first fish…

Little E was right by my side to hold and pet the fish. She is getting pretty good at identifying fish too; and correctly identified this fish as a bass.

My first one on my Tenkara rod for the record.

It’s sometimes difficult to keep young children entertained between fish bites, but Little E always finds a way. Finding sticks, collecting snail shells, picking dandy lions… and filling daddy’s pockets full of all of these “treasures” to take home to mommy.

Lately we have enjoyed touching the water…

And of course picking up the mud while mocking daddy with the mess. Not to mention the trouble he will be in with mommy when we get home.

But when that next fish comes to hand, Little E is always right there with daddy; with a world’s worth of wonder in her eyes.

She loves to pet the “shishes”, and see them splash. And lately, we have enjoyed letting them go. She likes to see them scurry away, and splash her as they slip back into the water…

Isn’t that last one the cutest catch and release picture you have ever seen?

As an angler, there is nothing that makes me happier than Little E taking the greatest pleasure in watching her trophy swim away…

And then asking daddy to catch another one. She’s got the angling bug already.

A few weeks ago, Little E was with me when I hooked into a fish and my line broke off. For weeks she has been taking about “That big shishy that took daddy’s fly”. I told her that we would catch that fish and get our fly back.

Right at the end of our trip, we hooked into a nice little bass.

Little E immediately deemed it the fish that stole daddy’s fly. Redemption was completed; even though there was no fly to reclaim… other then the one I caught him with. Who cares that I had no idea what kind of fish even took that fly weeks ago…

Little E was not mad at our menacing, “fly-stealing”, large fish. We caught it, and that was enough. The only thing left to do was let it go.

I couldn’t ask for a better fishing buddy.

That is until our short attention span get distracted by an endless field of dandy lions; far as our little eyes can see…

Read Full Post »

993011_10100900833529353_76589757_n

I think this post is long over due…

I have been fly fishing for about 3 years now… since just before Little E was born. Before this point, I had never picked up a fly rod in my life…

When my wife was pregnant with Little E, I started examining who I was going to be as a father; which I am sure happens to all new fathers. But this is particularly a very important topic in my life; especially when I stop and think about my “father”…

Those who know me personally know this part of my story. My parents did not have the best of relationships when I was growing up. My biological father suffered with mental illness that was difficult and often impossible for him to cope with. This lead to many violent outbursts directed at whatever was in his close proximity; including my mother and siblings. Needless to say, my childhood home was not the best environment to be raised in. This part of my life culminated in a particularly violent episode when I was 12 years old that I will not get into the details of; suffice it to say that my mother finally found the courage to leave with us children after that point…

At this particularly traumatic time of my life, the man who I now call my father entered into my life. He took my family into his home, raised us as his own children; and most importantly taught me right from wrong, and what it means to be a man…

He had such an impact on my life that when I was about 24 years old, I legally changed my last name to his. He is my father, he raised me, and I wanted my children to carry the name of the family that I was raised in.

When my wife became pregnant with Little E, I had to stop and examine who I wanted to be as a father…

As part of this introspection, I started to think about my own childhood years. How I now think of the man who became the father he didn’t have to be… and how I think about the person who brought me into this world, but failed at the same attempt.

Most importantly, I thought about how I wanted Little E to remember me.

Before my daughter came along, my only hobby was sitting around and playing video games. There is even a picture my mother has of me at about 6 years old, with big thick glasses on, sitting in front of an old floor model TV playing Super Mario Brothers on Super Nintendo. From that time, I played video games pretty exclusively; right up to when we were expecting Little E.

When I started thinking about what I wanted Little E to remember about her childhood, the thought that she would remember me sitting in the basement in front of the TV and cussing at Call of Duty alarmed me.

It scared me to my core…

That’s not how I wanted my little girl to remember her daddy.

Thinking back on when I was taken in by my father at 12 years old, the thing I remember about him is his passion for the outdoors. Hunting, fishing, boating, camping… it didn’t matter.

One of the first memories I had with him was sitting on the rocks in Patterson Harbor at Harlen County Reservoir, putting a spinning rod in my had, and throwing a bobber out in the water. I remember that we caught fish, although I don’t remember what kind they were now. I remember how much fun I had.

More fun than any video game…

It wasn’t the first time I had ever gone fishing, but it was close. And it is the only one I remember vividly…

Through my teenage years, I would occasionally go hunting, fishing, and camping with the family with the family; although not as much as I wish I would have in hindsight. At 16 years old, I didn’t appreciate those experiences as much as I do now. I was more interested in cars, girls, and a social life; even though I was only moderately successful at all three…

Before my wife and I moved to Florida after college, I had a similar experience with him. I came home to visit one last time, before my wife and I drove halfway across the country, to spend the weekend with my parents. We decided to go fishing…

Despite lipping a walleye, and sunburning myself to a crisp, that day on Johnson Lake was one of the best days of my life…

When thinking through how I wanted Little E to remember me, those are the images that stuck out most in my head. I wanted her to remember doing something with me; to have our own little tradition that she would remember when she was older. That “my daddy and I always used to ______.” Something I could teach her, and enjoy with her… Just the two of us.

So I decided to take up fishing.

Fishing season lasts all year in Nebraska. Plus, you can always release a fish back to the wild; which appeals to the kinder side of me. You can’t do the same when you are hunting…

So one day while we were expecting Little E, my wife and I were walking through a department store. I stopped in the sporting goods section, picked up a spinning rod, and told my wife that I wanted to go fishing. I hadn’t even thought of fly fishing at that point. Heck, I didn’t even know hardly anything about fishing…

I always relied on my dad for the fishing knowledge… I just enjoyed reeling in the fish. So I started out on a new path in my life…

At first I just took the spinning rod to the lake, put a worm on the end, and a bobber in the middle of the line. The way that most people start. I caught a lot of bluegill; and a few catfish still fishing on the bottom. I was taking graduate classes at the time; and worked my way through two online courses on the banks of Holmes Lake while waiting for something to bite.

One day while sitting on the bank and not catching any fish, an older gentlemen came by with a fly rod. As I sat in my folding chair not catching any fish, he worked his way down the jetty; catching fish on both sides of me as he went…

I sat in awe as I watched him work his fly line first through air, then softly onto the water. How he waited patiently, slowly stripped the line in, and finally with a flash raised the rod tip and set the hook. He pulled a bluegill to hand, removed the hook, and gently let the fish swim anyway.

I knew instantly what he was doing even though I had yet to learn anything about fly fishing. But I was hooked instantly. It wasn’t so much that he was catching fish when I wasn’t; although that helped. It was the magic and the awe of the sport. The balance between the artistry of the line flying through the air and the realization of how incredibly complex what he was doing actually was; like watching a master play the piano. I was mesmerized by how the angler was fully concentrated on the moment with a zen like focus…

I knew instantly that I wanted that experience…

After that day, I watched endless YouTube videos of fly fishing… I even watched a 40-some-odd-part “How to Fly Fish” series from the 80s all the way through in one night. I knew I had to buy a fly rod.

Within a couple of weeks, I convinced my wife to let me buy a $50 fly rod combo and a $20 box of flies from Cabela’s. $70 was a lot of money for us; especially for a hobby that we were not even totally confident that I would stick with; even though any fly angler can tell you that a $50 fly rod is an absolute bottom of the barrel junk rod. But I couldn’t wait to get it out onto the lake.

Standing in my backyard I taught myself to cast a fly rod. On my first few trips, I left about 75% of the flies from my first box in the trees around Holmes Lake. I have never taken a fly fishing lesson; but after numerous YouTube videos and books, I slowly honed my cast. I caught my first fish on a fly on a tiny little size 20 dry fly… it was so small, I missed the take, and pulled a bluegill up as I went to backcast. But I was hooked…

It wasn’t long and I was even tying and exclusively using my own handmade flies.

Fly fishing has introduced me to a whole new world. The magic of a fly rod is not just in the fishing itself… it’s in the quite mediation of the cast. The time spent thinking, concentration, stalking, and outwitting nature. As my skills as a fly angler increased, I sought an increasingly more elusive fish on the fly. Bluegill, then crappie, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout, and now all sorts of game fish on the fly; to the point where one of my father’s friends once asked me “Do you really catch all those fish on a fly?”

Yes, I do.

But as my skills increased, I found that I was chasing an even more elusive target then I ever could have imagined…

My inner self.

Time spent on the water has given me time to mediate on fatherhood, life, God, and many other things that up to this point in my life hadn’t mattered much to me. Suddenly I find myself thinking about the big questions in life; sometimes finding the answer and sometimes not.

The frustrations and triumphs of chasing fish had slowly merged with the same trials of life. Fly fishing is no longer about catching fish for me… it’s about the pursuit of the elusive.

By chasing fish on the fly; I find that I am really fishing for myself.

And just like fly fishing, sometimes you land the big one… and sometimes you go home empty handed. Either way, you learn something every time.

In the end, I think this is the greatest thing that I can pass down to my daughter.

I hope the memories that Little E builds of me are the beauty of casting a fly line out over the water in an act of perfect physics, how to use science and logic to overcome challenges, and how to find comfort and beauty in every part of life. How her daddy taught her to do all these things; and also how she learned to cast a fly along the way.

This is how I hope Little E remembers me.

That, and a few fish that we catch along the way…

Read Full Post »

No one wants to see a picture of me anyways…

So Friday night was a bust; but I did manage to get out on the water Saturday night and get into some bluegill on my new Tenkara rod. What a riot that was… Fly fisherman, if you have not tried out Tenkara fly fishing yet, you are missing out. It is not going to replace “western” fly fishing for me by any means, but it is an awesome way to target bluegills!

I couldn’t get bits from any other fish, but the bluegill have definitely moved into the shallow water…

Almost all of my hits came off my green bead head reapers… see my fly tying page for more info. I also got a few hits on some of my deep diving flies on my new St. Croix Imperial Rod I bought for bass fishing…

Admittedly… not the best picture of me…

The best part of the Saturday fishing was finding the fish though… so I could take Little E out on Sunday.

It was her second official fishing trip of the year; but the first where I landed a fish. And boy was she excited!

Little E is a bit too small to fish herself… That doesn’t stop us from occasionally trying though. But normally when little E comes with me, she is my “net girl”. She will follow me up and down the bank looking for “treasures”; like sticks, rocks, and this weekend’s surprise… snail shells.

But as soon as she hears the fish splashing in the water, she is right on point with her trusty net!

Mostly because that means she gets to pet the “shishies”…

What a fishing buddy! No better way to break back into spring fishing!

Read Full Post »

20130131-103619.jpg

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »