Fishing has always been a passion, and I continue to take full advantage. I have been on the water an awful lot, especially during this crisis — 31 straight days and counting. I am an essential life-sustaining employee on my favorite stream. Jensen now tags along after his online sessions. The local authorities continue to take down our courts, and fishing is slowly becoming his new favorite sport.
My father introduced me to fishing at an early age. I was born in the great state of Minnesota, and my first recollections were trolling for Walleyes and Northerns at my grandmother’s cabin on Mille Lacs Lake. I landed my first trout when I was in kindergarten. It was a beautiful Rainbow caught in The Black Hills of South Dakota. I have a few photos in a scrapbook somewhere.
My family and I moved to Billings, Montana, in the summer of ’83, and my little hobby quickly turned into an obsession. Pops and I spent several hours on the local streams and rivers. Every Memorial and Labor Day Weekend, we were fishing and camping in the Beartooth Mountains. Big Jim got me into spin fishing back then, and I had an impressive selection of silver and gold spinners. Cast. Retrieve. Move. Repeat. Something I learned to master over the years.
The Spencers relocated to Williamsport in ‘89. My fishing was non-existent as I was the new kid in town. I vividly remember an outing with one of my chums who invited me to catch some PENNSLVANNIA trout. We weren’t able to drive, so his father agreed to take us up, Loyalsock Creek. I totally recall my emotions when we loaded our gear. I was absolutely crushed on Tucker Street.
“WHAT’S THIS? YOU CHUCK METAL? GOOD LORD. YOU HAVE TO BE THE ONLY KID FROM MONTANA WHO DOESN’T FLY FISH.”
The nickname stuck. I was known as the metal chucker who lives on Lincoln Ave. I was constantly ridiculed. Even now.
Truth be told, I was never exposed to fly fishing growing up. Sure, I tried it several times, but this purist ideology never stuck. I simply don’t have the patience or the skills. Fly fishing is extremely frustrating, and I lacked confidence. I quit fifteen times and went back to my spinning rods. It took several years, but I finally came clean. I was OK with being a metal chucker, but my bug chucking friends still think less of me.
These are unprecedented times. I continue to fish, but the COVID-19 lockdown has changed my perspective. I simply wanted to accomplish one task that I have never done. Redoing the master bath did not make the cut. I started with YouTube and made a few calls. I used this opportunity to finally learn at home. I took half of Trump’s money and purchased a brand new setup. I was determined to finally catch a damn fish on a stupid fly rod.
Long story short — I am up to 22 — mass hysteria. Dogs and cats are most definitely living together. My friends have been great with this new challenge. I reached out to several, and they have been very supportive. Many of the purists have congratulated me on my successes. Beginners luck? Perhaps. It has been a great run. But the spin rod is still in the car.
Eric Reeder gave me a quick crash course on beaded nymphing along Lycoming. I missed a few because I was too dumb to set the hook. My new BFFs Andrew Girio and Jake Keiser took me under their wings and taught me how to match the hatch. I literally slayed them on the Sock using dry flies and now I am possessed. Priceless. Young Gavin Reed is teaching his father PCT Mike how to chuck bugs. This thirteen-year-old fishing phenom was the reason why I pulled the trigger on Amazon. Special thanks to his pop for the video of me landing my very first Brown. It is now trending on Farmersonly.com. I also need to give some love to Uncle Dave Butters. It’s a toss-up between us on who spends more time fishing on Lycoming. Dave has been my mentor and has provided me with some great knowledge. Much love, boys. Tie one on. Cheers.