Today is our sixth wedding anniversary. I checked the “official” book of anniversary gifts and found that “electrons” are the appropriate gift for number six. Therefore, I am turning over the blog (for today) to my lovely wife who will waste no time at all in availing herself of the opportunity to publicly eviscerate me. Enjoy!
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 Shouts, 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 Shouts 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 Unicorn River would be fruitful. (Not the river’s real name. -Ed.) The Unicorn can be tricky and the wading can be dangerous but Shouts 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 steelhead season I also purchased salmon and steelhead 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 Shouts. So worried in fact that I decided to go first, carry ALL the gear down and have Shouts 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. Shouts 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 Shouts 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 Shouts 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 Shouts 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 Unicorn’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 rapids. 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. Shouts 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. Shouts 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 Shouts 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 lost my husband AND my favorite fly rod… I came home with the worst case of poison oak I have ever had!
For the record, at no point before, during or after the fall did Mrs. Abyss point out said poison oak to me. I guess it was every fisherman for himself. Luckily I turned out to be resistant to the noxious weed.
Also, my discreet spouse failed to mention that our spot was so secluded, I completely stripped naked and had a gay old time by the river while my clothes took their sweet time to dry. For the first time in my life I felt free! Ugh. -Ed.