In our Jan/Feb '06 issue, we announced an essay contest for kids between the ages of 10 and 15. The essay had to revolve around some aspect of the sport of fly fishing, and the writer of the winning essay would receive paid tuition to FishCamp, the fly-fishing summer camp hosted at Antelope Creek by The Fly Shop.
We were hoping to run the winning essay in our May/June issue, but two other articles came in much longer than anticipated (and couldn't easily be cut down in size), so we were unable to squeeze it in. Here, then, is the winner, written by Danny Romero of El Cajon.
JUST AN EMERGER
My life as a fly fisherman started a little like this. My uncle Peter mentioned to me that he had gone to learn how to fly fish- whatever that was. When I went to his house he attempted to tie something he called an “Elk Hair Caddis”, and so it began my journey into this new mysterious world of the fly fisherman.
Before I knew it, my dad had bought me a rod and reel outfit from Wal-Mart and in August of 2004 I went with my uncle Peter and aunt Nemesia on a trip from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. For some strange reason my uncle thought that the Upper Kern River near Kernville was on the way, ( Well, I looked on a map later and found out we had gone way out of our way on this exploratory trip to the”Kern’) It was beautiful and wondrous (“The Kern”) as we scrambled down the large boulders that led us to the rivers edge. It was there and then that I fell in love with this sport. I was sitting on a big boulder and I didn’t know much what I was doing and I was fishing a parachute Adams and when I could no longer see the fly I was going to recast, but the fly got caught on something, but then a big rainbow trout jumped out and it seemed like the biggest fish ever, but it had turned out that that trout was on my fly pole and so the battle began against me and the fish. After a few minutes I got the fish in and I tried to pick it up by the leader and the leader snapped and it almost got away, that’s when I learned how light of a line, I needed to use. I was used to using about 8 pound test line, because I’ve never fished for trout. Actually that was the first trout I’ve ever caught.
After that I got interested in tying my own flies. The first fly fishing show I went to was the Bob Marriotts show and that’s when I really got hooked. I liked the idea that I could think of my own flies and challenging it was. That was also the first time I met George (“Chappie”) Chapman, I really liked him, because he looked like a nice fun guy. I stood in front of his booth as he showed me some extraordinary foam flies. He taught me the art of imitating a big bug, but as he went along, it wasn’t just about tying feathers together then throwing it in front of a fish’s face and hoping for it to bite it was about imitating a bug that comes out at certain times of the day, like midges, emergers, pupas, mayflies and caddis flies, just to name a few.
After that show I went on to the Ontario show and I was starting to get into it even more and was learning some new techniques. Then I went to the Bob Marriott’s show again saw Chappie, now my good friend (he had remembered me from last year!) As I got to know him even more, we were talking about me going to tie at the next Ontario show. I didn’t know what to say about that, but then after that show Chappie called me and told me what I had to do to tie at the show. I did everything I had to do, but no word from the directors of the show. So my friends from the San Diego Flyfishers Al Venton and Lucky Ketchum stepped in to help me accomplish my dream. They were calling the show company in Pennsylvania and find out what was going on. About a week later I received a letter from The Flyfishing Show telling me that I’d been accepted to the show. It turned out that I’d been accepted, but the director had forgotten to send it out. That was ok; I was just so excited to be tying at my first big show. (I had waited in anticipation for months for the big show.)
Then the day finally came, my uncle and I left San Diego at 4 in the morning. We arrived at about 7 and we were the first ones to arrive, so we got the best parking spot. We went into the building and I saw a table with the name “Danny Romero” in big bold letters. I was amazed and at moment I realized how far I’ve come. I then loved fly tying more than anything in the world. when the show started and people came flowing in, I was a little nervous at first but as the day went on I was getting even more and I also sold my first fly for $1. At the end of the day I had sold some flies and met some new people. I left my things and my uncle and I went his sister’s house which not too far away. (We spent the night there).the next morning we ate breakfast and went to the show. That day I met a lot of new people and a lot of famous people too. At the end of the show, I left $65 richer selling Griffiths Gnat, Renegade, caddis and Triple Elk Hair Caddis. When I got home I set up a table and set up a vice and tied away. And that’s my story and I’m still learning--after all I’m still just an “EMERGER.”
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