When I was preparing this article and thinking about my first fly fishing experience, I was inspired by a quote by Mahatma Gandhi . “A country’s society can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
My best friend, Andres Vidal, has been my biggest influence through my fly fishing learning process. One day while talking about fishing, he told me “When you feel the vibration of the fly rod for the first time, when you capture and land your first fish on a fly rod, Gandhi’s words will become true.”
That’s how my interest for fly fishing began.
When I first started fishing, I saw people fishing with spinning gear, bait and big treble hooks, which made me very uncomfortable because I did not want to hurt the fish. Seeing the violence and damage this way of fishing could cause produced discomfort in my soul.
In Ecuador, specifically in Cuenca which is my hometown, we have a National Park called El Cajas, where we find breathtaking landscapes, beautiful lakes and rivers, many of which are unexplored.
One day Andres asked if I wanted to go fishing in Cajas National Park. The image of traditional fishing and violence came to my mind … so I refused! After several offers, I finally cautiously accepted. I had built up enough courage, not realizing that I was going to have one of the best experiences of my life.
After a few times fishing with my friend, I learned more about casting, flies and where to look for trout. Of course my first experience was river fishing, so not much luck there! I did not catch a single fish. By my second visit to the river, I had improved my casting and presentation of the fly. I was able to catch my first trout. I was so excited, I felt like a million bucks!
I remembered what Andres told me in the beginning, ”When you feel the vibration of the fly rod for the first time, Gandhi ‘s words will become true.”
That is how my love for fly fishing began. It has become a part of my life. The sport is so much fun. It takes me to beautiful places and, best of all, I don’t cause any damage to the fish!