Stan's Tuesday Walks

A Weekly Feature
by Stan Evans,
President, Santa Fe Always Online

August 14
, 2001

When I got up at 5 AM this morning, the air smelled absolutely wonderful. It always does after a rain in New Mexico and last night we had a big rainstorm.

As my neighbor and I took off on our Tuesday morning walk, I guess the fragrance in the air reminded me of the high country of New Mexico in the fall and that in turn reminded me of my passion, which is fly fishing

Fly fishing is always best in the fall. I started thinking about some of the wonderful experiences that I had in the past and since I had talked about how fly fishing was my passion in my article last week, I thought I would tell you about a funny story that happened to me one time when I took my daughter fishing.

By the way, my daughter is now 25 years old and lives in Albuquerque where she is busy going to beauty school after completing a BA degree in physical science. Her plan is to create a business where her lady clients can come in and not only leave looking beautiful, but also feeling fit.

I started teaching my daughter how to fish when she was quite young, but as she got involved in her school activities and I in my real estate business, our fishing time together got scarce. As time quickly escaped us and she went off to college, she thought about those wonderful times we spent together and each summer after she left home, she always managed to set aside a couple of days for us to go fishing.

Even though she never got to spend a lot of time with me fishing, she never forgot the rudiments of basic fly casting. My wife, on the other hand, partly because of her busy schedule and partly because she never got an opportunity to go fishing as a youngster, is not an avid fan of the sport.

One day, three or four years ago, my daughter, my wife, who develops interest in fly fishing any time her daughter is going, and I took off on a fishing trip. I decided we would fish some high mountain lakes in float tubes because it is easier for individuals that are not very experienced in the sport.

Float tubes are round or "U' shaped rubber tubes covered with a nylon jacket.They have a seat sewn in the middle of the tube, where a fisherman, wearing insulated waders, sits half submerged in the water and guides the tube around with the aid of swim fins.The fisherman can either go to a particular spot on a lake and stop and cast his line at that point or keep the float tube moving and troll the line as one would do from a boat.

I have three of these complete sets of tubes, waders and fins because I have either out grown them physically or have found a different kind that I wanted. All of them work fine and so I usually let my daughter use the smallest set which is still quite large for her and I let my wife use the next larger set which is also too large.They both look like astronauts in bulky space suits.

These particular lakes are about a three hour drive from our home and I spent the travel time coaching my daughter on the art of playing a fish, all the way into the net, after it has been hooked. She is very patient with me and lists, or at least appears to, as I went through a very detailed description on how to land a large trout.

After having arrived at the lakes and going through the process of setting up all the rigs for three of us, we floated out in the water. On this particular day there were not many people around the lake or in the water on float tubes. No motor powdered craft are aloud in these small lakes.

With this in mind, I hoped to get a fish on my line soon, so that I could demonstrate the process of landing a large trout, in case my daughter should happen to hook one of the large trout that were in these lakes, she would have some chance of landing it.

The following part of this story was difficult for me to talk about for several months after it happened. As we moved out into the middle of the lake, I separated myself from my daughter and wife so that there would not be too much movement and noise around me. A good fisherman knows that too much commotion makes trout become leery and they won't strike.

As I waited with stealth and anticipation, my wife yells out, "Quick, your daughter caught one, hurry, come and help." As I watched from a distance, my wife rushed as fast one can in a float tube, to aid her daughter.

Our daughter, in the meantime, handled her fly rod along with the fish attached to her line with the style and grace of a very experience fisherman. As she brought the fish in close to her float tube, my wife approached with great speed and dexterity and scooped the fish into the net she had attached to her float tube.

It always amazes me how a mother, when dealing with something important to their child, can immediately increase their skill level as many times as necessary for the task at hand. Now each float tube has a piece of webbed material that attaches in front of the seated fisherman that is called an apron.

My wife lifted the net with the contained fish and placed it on the apron and then laid her bosom over the top like a child would do when taking a nap on a school desk. Nothing would make her do that except the fear of her daughter's fish being lost, which would never happen once in the net.

As she laid there, she was yelling at me to hurry and get the fish and put it on a stringer for her daughter. When I arrived, I took the suffocated fish out of the net and put it on my daughter's stringer. The fish was quite large and I congratulated my daughter for a job well done all the time thinking she was very lucky.

We all set out to try and catch another. After while the same thing happened again. My daughter hooked another large trout. My wife paddled over and netted it, boob-a-fied it as I call it, then yelled at me to come over and put it on my daughter's stringer. My daughter never said a thing and again I thought she was really being lucky. Well she did this a third time and I still hadn't had a strike. When the third large trout was put on her stringer and we all floated out to try and catch another, realization was finally starting to set in for me that perhaps, and I say perhaps, my daughter might not be a bad fisherman after all.

As we were getting some distance from each other, my daughter in a soft and quiet voice said, "Dad, are you mad?" Now had you been there, you would have been proud of me when I answered in a calm voice, "No hijita (daughter), I'm not mad." And then in a loud voice, this part you may not have thought was too cool "But I'll never take you fishing again!!!"

I never have gotten over that, as you can probably tell. I guess it hard for a father to believe that this little girl that he once held in his arms would one day beat her dad at fishing.

Have a great day

Stan

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