Posts tagged Fishing

Memorial Day 2010

Memorial Day at Eagle Point Cemetery

I called him Gramps, he called me Stubs. Born in Long Creek, Oregon in 1915, Gramps was a kind, soft spoken man of few words. Grandpa was a native Oregonian, served in World War II, married my grandma, had three wonderful children, joined the FAA and was grandfather to three spoiled grandkids.

Grandpa and his twin Maurice

Master-Sergeant Mervin C. Conger was the radio chief of the 414th Night Fighter Squadron, serving with the 22nd Tactical Air Command of the 12th Air Force, which furnished the air support for the Fifth Army in the victorious northern Italy Campaign.

In 1942, Gramps married Helen M. Hull during a leave from the service. After the war, Grandpa joined the reserves and held various jobs until joining the FAA. He stared his career as an Air Traffic Controller in  Alaska and a few months later the whole family moved up with him. By know there were three children. His career in the FAA, took him from Anchorage, Alaska to the San Francisco International Airport to and later to the Lake Tahoe Airport where he eventually retired. I remember vividly, Grandpa got word that Sammy Davis Jr. was flying in to Tahoe. The entire family got dressed up to the nines and met Grandpa at work. We got to see Sammy and he patted me on the head.

Gramps and Grams

Grams and Gramps ready for a hot date

Not one to retire for too long, Gramps and Grams eventually moved to Netarts Bay and managed an R.V. park and marina. Those were the times I remember the most. We always had so much fun visiting at the coast. Grandpa always took us crabbing and clamming and fishing. Lots of parties and happiness. After they finally retired from the park, they bought a home with a view of the bay and the park they loved. Eventually, my wonderful grandma passed away at their last stop together near the bay. Shortly after, we moved Grandpa to Grants Pass, where he lived with his youngest daughter who took care of him until he passed in 1996.

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Not everyone’s a teacher OR A wife should never teach a husband how to fish!

My family are all fisherman and have had a long tradition of teaching each generation to fish. The older generations used bait and tackle the easy way to fish. The young ones fly fish, the more difficult way to fish. My uncle was the first fly fisherman of the family. He taught my aunt to fly fish and my aunt taught my brother and me to fly fish. In keeping with tradition, I thought it was time for me to teach someone in my family. I figured it couldn’t be that hard. I caught on fast myself. For my first pupil, I chose Dimples, my indoor only, Star Wars loving, extremely logical, computer geek of a husband. This should have been my first clue that not everyone can be a teacher no matter what the subject.

Once I convinced Dimples that fly fishing would be a blast and I assured him there would be plenty of sun screen for his pale skin. I set out to plan our trip. I decided the Umpqua River would fruitful. The Umpqua can be tricky and the wading can be dangerous but Dimples has always told me he’s as nimble as a Billy Goat. I packed snacks, gear and I bought fishing licenses. Being that is was steel head season I also purchased salmon and steel head tags at an additional cost. This should have been clue number two.

We arrived at the river. It was beautiful! We came to an area that I thought would be a good start. The river pooled nicely, with a riffle above and below. There was a steep trail down to the bank of the river but this was something I was very comfortable with however, I was a little worried about Dimples. So worried in fact that I decided to go first, carry ALL the gear down and have Dimps follow my trail. I guided him all the way down warning him of loose rocks and stumps. Before I knew it, I was down. Down with one knee bent behind me, one leg in front and sliding fast towards the bank. Thankfully I was stopped by a stump. Dimples came flying down the hill towards me to see if I was okay. I was a bit hurt, but more humiliated. I decided that it would be best for Dimples to start out with a bait and tackle. At this point I was in no shape to discuss the intricacies of fly fishing. I let my humiliation sink in and waded in the cold water up to my aching swollen knee. Not a good start to our trip.

After an unsuccessful hour, I decide we should move elsewhere. About two miles down the road we spotted a great site to check out. Very private with a small deep pool ending in a riffle leading to a huge rapid. This was it. I could hear the fish calling. This is where our teaching would begin.

Being that Dimples is a very logical person, I used the most logical and visual descriptions and presentations I could come up with to teach him to fly fish.

However, I am not a logical person. By the time I was done demonstrating Dimples looked more confused then ever. By now I should have thrown in the towel and headed home but I ignored my instincts and decided he just needed to give it a shot and I would try guiding him from there. I handed him my favorite fly rod. He slowly got the gist of it and at some point stopped listening to me. He waded into the water up to his ankles. I stressed with urgency the danger of the Umpqua’s extremely slippery rocks. Did I mention he stopped listening to me???? Farther and farther he went. He was about 150 yards above that very powerful rapid. Not a place you should even attempt fishing but again, he was not listening to me. He was up to his knees. Then his hips. At this point I had to yell at him to get him to hear me over the roar of the rapids. The water was lapping his stomach; his fly line was wrapped around the reel. I was getting very nervous, shouting instructions to him and begging him to come back to the shore. Before I knew it, he slipped. Up to this chin. His eyes were huge orbs. I screamed at him that he better not let go of my rod. He was getting closer to the rapid. Now I was crying. He was scrambling to get a foot hold. I knew he was a goner and so was my rod. Suddenly his Billy Goat senses kicked in and he found ground. Dimples slowly dragged himself out of the water with me screaming at him the whole time. He was safe… my rod was safe. All was well, almost. Dimples was drenched. He peeled off his shorts and shirt. His wallet survived but was soaking; his cell phone was completely water logged and forever unusable and his expensive fishing license and tags LOST to the rapids.

This was our FIRST and last fishing trip. Some people were born to teach and others are not. If I can ever convince Dimples to fish again, I’ll leave it to my aunt to teach him.

Not only did I fail to teach him the art of fly fishing, I failed to teach him what poison oak looked like. That hill I slipped all the way down……….yep, it was loaded with poison oak. I fell…. I hurt my self….almost lose my husband AND my favorite fly rod… I came home with the worst case of poison oak I have ever had!

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