Embraces of Thanks for TBird from Jim (left) and Jim H. at the end of the two day event.

Wayne, Reel Recovery Retreat 2011 Cedar Wood Lodge October

Once or twice a year I get the chance to guide on the river. This year was the first for the Reel Recovery Retreat, what a joy and an honor it was.

As I arrived and River Buddies (a term that the event co-ordinators use for Guides) were paired with the participants my day began with Wayne, a fly fisher and tyer whom I had met at previous Sowbug and we jumped into the Jeep and headed off for Dry Run Creek and Quarry Park.

Wayne made his first cast and “FishOn!” He was off to a great start; Wayne took in 16 beautiful trout in an hour and and a half, mostly rainbows, but he caught his first ever Cut-throat within a few casts.

Ken and Mary Ann Green fixed a great lunch and Dave Caravella took a survey of hands and questioned who had caught fish on the first half of the day- all were successfull. I congratulated Wayne on learning how to fish like a girl! To which he blushed and the fellow Reel Recovery buds and River Buddies teased; Wayne took it well. Then Dave asked the participants to find a different river buddy.

Jim H, walked up straight away and said-“TBird”, “would you teach me to fish like a girl, too!” So that afternoon Jim H. earned a new nickname, “Rainbow Jim”- he ended the afternoon session with 33 fish and this was his first experience with a fly rod. Rainbow Jim did very well and even landed a 4lb brown and two nice 2+lb rainbows along with one really gorgeous Cut.

The end of the first day was with a great steak and fine hospitality at Chris’ home just down from Cedar Wood Lodge where the River Buddies kicked back and traded stories and shared some quality time together.

The second day also began around 9:am again at Cedar Wood where I met Jim, who is an avid wood worker and experienced bass fisher. But today he would leave that all behind and walk into the new world of fly fishing as we drove to Dry Run Creek. During the drive Jim shared the remarks of his fellow friends, Wayne and Jim, who I had fished the day before; they told Jim he too would enjoy the “fishing like a girl” experience.

Once we were at rivers edge, a couple of casts in and Jim had his first feel of the tugging trout on a fly rod. I wish I could describe the smile and glow on his happy face, I couldn’t help but smile myself.
Many more trout to the net in the coming hours for Jim and they included a couple of 3lb browns, a beauty of a Cut-throat and some rainbows with thick shoulders and broad tails that produced a good fight.
15 trout successfully now under Jims’ belt on his first fly fishing adventure. I have to say, he had me beat!
As Jim and I drove back to Cedar Wood for lunch/closing ceremonies with the others, Jim had shared with me that he decided that he might have to expand more of his fly fishing experience once he got home from the trip and carry on with what he had learned…”to fish like a girl”, of course!

As the ceremony ended too soon as they always do and it was time for all to get on the road, there were tears as we shook hands and exchanged hugs between participants and the river buddies. Strangers who met only hours before but had bonded for a lifetime in only a few short hours. Some we will see again and others we will see in our minds as we reflect on our fly fishing waters in days and years to come.

It was Jeff Hearn, River Buddy and personal friend to me who pointed out this photo of Jim and Jim jointly embracing me. Jeff expressed that he was personally touch and moved by this photo (taken un-beknown to the three of us) by Mary Ann Green.

I feel so fortunate to have had that one on one experience with each special person and through a fly and a fly rod it becomes a common thread at the end of it all that holds each of them forever as another stitch in the fabric of my life…

A special thank you to the Greens and Cedar Wood Lodge for everything they do and to the Reel Recovery Co-ordinators for giving me the chane to meet these wonderful men.

The biggest thanks go to Wayne, Jim H. aka “Rainbow Jim” and Jim for allowing me to take them into my world of fly fishing and share my time with them, you are strong and dear to me…”Be Well! FishOn!”