On the Hiwassee River, nestled somewhere down in Reliance, Tennessee, is where it first started for me. We were knee deep in the river with a good ole’ spinner rod/reel, an assortment of Rooster Tails, and a can of corn incase things took a turn for the worst and we got desperate. Although we never dipped into the corn reserve and we caught plenty of fish, I just wasn’t satisfied. And the reason for the “I can’t get no satisfaction” attitude, was wading just a few hundred yards downriver from me. There he was, an older gentleman and what looked to be his grandson casting such bright and thick line on these extremely long rods. I was perplexed and amazed. More and more line they would drift into the smooth flowing waters. Their movements, so precise and perfected, were like the closing performance at a dance recital. You could tell this wasn’t their first rodeo as they had been dancing this dance for quite some time. I watched in what felt like slow motion, seeing their arms sway back and forth, watching the line slowly follow behind in one timely motion. It wasn’t hurried or rushed. It was peaceful and an art form.

Fly fisherman casting in a mountain lake

What I did next was what the majority of us do, I became passionately inspired and then I let the list of excuses stop me from even starting to learn the first thing about fly fishing. It went a little something like this: “I don’t have a grandpa like that. I’ll need someone to teach me. It looks like it takes a lot of skill and knowledge. I’m not even sure where to fish. I don’t have anyone to go with. I don’t have any gear. I won’t be any good anyways. Eh, whatever.”

I was in that disposition for longer than I’d like to admit, but gratefully I didn’t stay there forever. I moved to Fraser, Colorado and was inspired once again by those around me. I bought the cheapest set up I could find and just tagged along any chance I got. I listened, watched, and practiced. I asked questions, sought out the locals, and got got out there. And I’ll tell you what most people won’t, there were many times I got skunked but even a day “practicing my casting” at an alpine lake in RMNP beats never having gone at all. Even a day of hooking into my own tongue was better than not having gone at all.

Julia holds up a rainbow trout

I stopped making excuses not to and started making reasons to. In our day and age, we have unlimited resources surrounding us. I bought a few books, watched a lot of videos, and simply got out on the water more and more. Slowly but surely, I got better and better. I invested in gear, met fellow anglers and friends, and have become a pretty okay angler. Ha!

Happy #FlyGalFriday everyone! You can follow Julia at: Ju_Thang

Julia holds a brown trout

Julia holds a trout on a foggy morning

One thought on “Julia Jernigan #FlyGalFriday

  1. Thanks for sharing such a lovely story. I felt the same way about starting out and have met others with the same trepidations about fly fishing. It’s nice to be inspired by those who have been inspired! God bless and happy fishing 🙂

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