I have a confession to make. I detested fishing as a child. I spent more time untangling my line, than I did with it in the water. I hated baiting my hook, unless I got to use colored marshmallows. I remember my brothers spending hours digging up night crawlers to use for bait. I would scream if I had to string one of those slimy buggers on my hook. Just thinking about it makes me a little nauseous. However, since meeting my husband, I have learned to love fishing. You see, my husband was a fly fishing guide for a local outfitter and he taught me to fly fish.

Fly fishing is much different than the fishing I grew up with. For one thing, there is no live bait. All you have to do is tie a fly (fake bug) on the end of your line and toss it in the water. The fishing I grew up with was just throwing the line in the water and then watching the bobber from now until eternity to see if it moves. This, I’m pretty sure is torture for a child. Fly fishing, is much more fun. You are constantly moving your pole back and forth. You have to keep a close eye on your fly to know when a fish is coming. When the fish bites, you have a very short amount of time to set your hook (pull up hard on the line, so the hook stays in the fish’s mouth).

I must also confess that I am a bit squeamish about touching fish. It took me a couple years of fly fishing before I would hold my own fish for a picture. I also have to confess that I hate the taste of fish. You might think this would be a problem in a family with avid fishers, but actually no. My husband is a catch-and-release guy too. Just because we don’t eat them, doesn’t mean we don’t love them. Montana has some of the most beautiful fish in the world. Why else would people come from all over the United States and even the world to fish Montana’s rivers and streams?

While I’m in the confessing mood, I have one last thing to confess and that is that I have yet to find anything more relaxing and fun than to be standing knee deep in a Montana river at sunset fly fishing.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.

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