A (Mostly) True Fishing Story

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     In the late Spring of 1986, my friend Bobby and I had planned a weekend float trip on the James River in Virginia. As a precursor to this event, I had purchased a new fly rod, made of genuine GRAPHITE. State of the art. Berkley. $110.00. The weapon of bass destruction. The night before our early Friday a.m. departure, I spent several hours putting together The Ultimate Smallmouth Box. It was perfect. At 2:00 a.m., I was finally satisfied that the box was complete, and I went to bed for a couple of hours.      Bobby came by at 4:30 a.m., we hooked up my trailered Gheenoe, and we headed to Hillsborough, N.C. for breakfast at Jack’s, a local greasy spoon which served thick slices of country ham on a hot, homemade, cat-head...

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Something Old, Something New: A First-time Fly Fishing Experience...

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     “That stuff is for the birds, man,” Jerry Alfonso said to me when I first mentioned the idea of fly fishing a few years ago. Jerry is one of the old-timers from Delacroix Island that taught me how to catch redfish. For Jerry, the idea of casting a bundle of feathers back and forth was somehow ludicrous enough to be left only for men in fancy vests and silly hats. Even worse was the idea that they didn’t keep the fish they caught, as most fly fisherman practice catch and release.      Jerry grew up on the bayou and could tell a good fishing spot by simply glancing it over. His method for catching the fish was foolproof: Put a fresh shrimp on a hook and suspend it under a cork. When the...

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