A Rookie’s True Story

Big Hole River 357 cfs

Today was a first outing for Greg Pappas. He showed up this morning at the shop with new waders, shoes and fly rod which he wasn’t quite sure which end to point. Most of his gear was pretty good except for the rubber soled shoes some sales person sold him and told him they would be fine here in Montana. I explained to him that he would be standing on his head more than his feet with those shoes as the Big Hole is noted for slippery rocks. We took care of that problem with a pair of loaners.
As we got to the river he reminded me again that he was a beginner. I asked if he had tried to cast at all yet and he said that he did yesterday in Jeff’s pond and it was not pretty.
I went through all the basics and demonstrated a couple casts and then it was his turn. He had been a big time spin fisherman and I knew the results before they happened. A couple false casts weren’t bad and then the last one when they really want to load up and get some distance. On the back cast the rod tip actually goes into the water, the fly line goes straight up in the air and all lands 5 feet in front of him in a pile. He turns around and looks at me and I turn my head quickly as if I didn’t see a thing.
After awhile he starts to get better with one out of ten casts being acceptable. I told him right at the start not to expect to catch a fish but to concentrate on his technique. We were using a big para hopper and a couple fish made a serious attempt at it. That’s when he learned that slack line is not your friend. I don’t know how many he missed and he was probably thinking he wouldn’t catch any and all at once he got it all right and stuck a nice 16 inch bow. After that he got a few more in short order. We changed fly’s again to a tan foam hopper. On his first cast just as the fly hit the water this big brown nailed it. It was a little touch and go landing it but we finally got it. So now Rooky Greg has a picture of him holding a stout 20 inch male brown trout.
When I told him I was gonna put that story in my report he agreed to use his full name. When I told him I always tell the truth on these reports and would also have to tell all the ugly details prior to catching that fish, he started to back pedal just a bit. I assured him I wouldn’t tell about all the girly casts and the spagetti line all over the place and the multitude of wind (casting) knots. He then shook his head in agreement. He is now hooked in the fine art of fly fishing but the first thing he has to learn is that: all fisherman are LIARS.


  1. john bradford

    Good for Greg, everyone has to learn the hard way, some at a younger age than others.
    How can you tell when a fisherman is lying? (His lips are moving.)

  2. Is that the same Greg from Newport that is well known for his shark fishing skills? That guy really knows how to fish.

  3. Is that the same Greg from Newport Beach that is well known for shark fishing. That guy is a heck of a fisherman.

  4. Yep, no big thing . . . once upon a time we all cast like that. Of course, no one announced it to the whole intertubes!

  5. I still have those days and I’ve been flyfishing almost 30 years now. Of course most happen the day after too many Hanky Pankys while dealing with a 25 mph headwind 🙂

  6. I think I'm In Love

    Wow.. Sounds like a real ” Catch!”


  8. It sounds like this “pretty boy” is better suited to be fishing on some big fancy boat in Newport with a cool drink in his hand, instead of fly fishing the rivers of Montana.

  9. What the heck is Greg doin fishin with the red necks? I can see it now, the Greek fly fishin with his new store bought toys & not catchin anythang!!!

    He belongs on deck trying to hold on to his pole with a tuna trying to pull him over board!!! (If he was taller, the tuna would win)

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