First Dayers

Opening day of trout went off splendidly! My first cast, I reeled back in a lovely, little rainbow. I can honestly say that was the first time that has ever happened to me. This, I think, got everyone keyed up to get their own; in our early morning fishing party there was my husband, my dad, and my cousin Leah. Leah has never been fishing, this was something Scott promised to do with her, and they never got the chance. So out on Parker Dam we went to be “first dayers” as my husband calls them.

He and Scott were never “first dayers”, in fact, they often were annoyed by all the people who stand shoulder to shoulder on our shoresides that one day a year. Though my dad took me to places Like Moose Creek in Clearfield, Pennsylvania and out on streams in South Dakota’s Custer National Park, my father and I, for sake of tradition, often were Shane’s loathed “first dayers.” He teased about bringing his sleeping bag and camping chair to Parker Dam so that he could stay warm as he napped with his bobber and Power Bait in the water.

Then cast, bizzzz, plunk, and “I got one!” happened, and Shane perked up, Leah and my dad too. My dad was the next one to pull a flipping-flopping trout to shore. I think it was impressive to Leah to see fish getting caught so quickly, and I am sure it gave her the wrong idea. It took her until the afternoon before she finally got her own slippery, wiggly trout, and it was a good moment.

For our Easter dinner I cooked up five of the trout for people to try. It by no means was the staple protein at the table, but I was excited to share our bounty. Mainly the men munched on the fish, but others did give a small bite a try. All last year I had been wanting to cook up this recipe for Shane, and for what ever reason, mainly for lack of trout, I never got to. Finally, he got to see why I enjoy keeping the trout I catch.

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While we all enjoyed the fuss and excitement of the first day of trout, Monday was a less adrenaline filled day. Leah and I went to the gym, then out for lunch in this area I am now calling home. Conversation focused around Scott as we talked about things that made him so great, plans they had had, and things they had done. It was a good and needed day that ended with something he was truly passionate about, fly fishing.

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Leah put on hip-waders for the first time and her lesson began with Shane in the waters of Lake Arthur. I myself am still learning, so I didn’t have any input on the lesson and was practicing my own motion of the fly rod. The only thing I encouraged was to come out further because we could see striper action on the water. She did catch a bluegill before we went in and discovered that for the last half of it, she was with out a fly due to the whipping she was doing instead of casting. I was lucky enough to catch a bluegill and a striper, and I lost count of how many fish Shane caught.

When we were packing up Leah commented on how this was fun, but not a hobby she would probably get into alone, right away. Shane reassured her that he was by no means an expert even though he had been doing it since he was a kid and that there are always things to learn with it. I guess that is one reason out of many our guys got so into fly fishing, there is always new things to learn, to catch, to try, and during it all, you are in the beauty of God’s creation.

When Scott said that he felt closest to God out in His creation, it is like he really got what C.S. Lewis was saying in his quote, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” If we hear the red wing black bird’s song as the water laps at our hip-waders and our rod goes whooshing through the air and don’t acknowledge that God created and gave us those things, finding peace while fishing Monday night may have been nearly impossible. Fortunately for us, that moment was a part of God’s peace painted out before us to partake in.

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All three of us out there on the water have experienced a loss of someone who we loved. Believe me, at times it feels really unfair, and we are still wading through waves of emotions. But at the end of the day, we can have peace. Fly fishing on Monday was a moment of peace that energized our souls, enjoying God’s handiwork, from bright pink sunset, to scaly stripers. I honestly went back to Jonah a few times this weekend and remembered that God is a God of mercy and keeps his promises, even ones to give us peace.

Numbers 6:25-26 “the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

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