I grew up fishing. Believe it or not, I logged more hours sitting in the bottom of an aluminum Grumman canoe than most kids do on a soccer field. "Shhh. You'll scare the fish." I would sit quietly for hours, my legs cramping, alternating between casting and daydreaming. It's not as bad as it sounds actually. I liked winding around the coves of a big lake listening to the water drip, drip, dripping from the wooden paddle that balanced across the boat. And the fishing ... it was mostly fishing and sometimes catching. The catching part was really exciting, especially when we hooked the big ones.
One of the things I remember most about fishing was the endless details. This lure, not that lure. This reel, not that one. This way, not that way. Cast under that branch, a little to the left. Look at the bugs hatching. Which one is that? The knowledge one human needs to know to outsmart a slimy fish was overwhelming.
It is this history that has prevented me from being an adult fisherwoman, until recently. [You may have noticed that I have a few projects going on already ... and the idea of fishing away the day meant not doing other things ... ahem, donkeys, garden, bees.] A handful of Saturdays ago, I joined my husband at the Beaverkill Valley Inn for a special "casting and coffee" event where Nick Rubicco, a fly fishing guide and a real fisherman through and through, presided over the kind of fishing "experience" that could hook anyone.
I first met Nick at a pig roast. I think I should say that I first saw him there -- because we didn't actually meet. He was way too busy applying himself to carving up the roasted pig so as to present the most and best cuts of meat to the guests (of which he was one). And he was having a great time of it too.
Nick used to be in corporate real estate, until one bad day at the office put him over the edge and he quit. He spent the next two months fishing nonstop (and trying to figure out what to tell his mom). One thing he realized was that fishing and guiding fishing was what he wanted to do full time. And, boy does he look happy. He has a genuine twinkle about him. He's so passionate about fishing and everything that has anything to do with fishing that it's contagious. You get the feeling that he's as happy with others who love fishing like he does -- the real experts -- as he is with sharing his joy of fishing with complete newcomers.
This is what I love about Nick. First of all, he has the best laugh. It's a bit incongruous with his appearance, but it's frequent and smile-inducing. Second, he just wants you to love fishing. He does not insist that you memorize the complete fly fishing encyclopedia in order to do it either. He will start with some casting. He will show you some flies. It's super interesting the way he approaches it. He will teach you some knots. If you aren't interested in knots, he will just tie them for you. But he makes you want to be able to do it somehow. And he will get you out on the water and point you in the right direction. Like any fishing guide, he wants you to catch a fish and knows instinctually what they want to eat at every moment. It's kinda like the instinct he displayed at the pig roast. "These folks are going to want to taste this cut of pork, this way, right now." And so it goes with fishing.
Nick fishes anywhere the fish are. Little streams. Big rivers. Any ocean. He has a flat bottom river boat that I am dying to go on with some friends and a lunch in a cooler. I might do some casting alternatively with some daydreaming, like the good old days.
If you're already into fly fishing, you'll love Nick and you'll learn a lot. If you're not into fly fishing, you'll love Nick and learn a lot too. No matter your level, you will have a great time getting lost in your thoughts as you cast amongst the river's currents, seeking the elusive trout that lurk and pass you by. All you need is some equipment and Nick. Thanks, Beaverkill Valley Inn for the great opportunity to resurrect and give a new life to this old pastime!
XOXO Farm Girl