Fishing with my Brother – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Fishing with my Brother

Living in Bozeman means that you tend to spend portions of your summer hosting family and friends who want to make trips out to the area to fly-fish, visit Yellowstone, hike, climb and backpack. Being from Sioux Falls, this is a totally new experience for me and I’m still learning the art of being a hostess. I recently had one of the best guests possible – my younger brother.

A brief background: Derek and I are 4 years apart in age. While I was into the performing arts side of things in high school, he was heavily involved in athletics. I listen to folk music and he listens to hip-hop. He’s hyper-competitive and I’m just competitive. You could say that we’re pretty different.

Derek had only fly-fished once before when he was younger during a family vacation to Colorado. When we were talking about what to do while he was visiting, he mentioned that he wanted to go fishing….a lot. Knowing that he didn’t have any bad habits casting and that he was a coachable person (you have to be if you’re going to play a sport in college) made teaching him the art of flyfishing seem like a great idea. I mean, he was basically a blank slate and full of potential.

As soon as he got to town, we came down to Fins and Feathers and got his fishing license for the next 4 days. Then, we headed down to a pretty popular hole on the Gallatin to get him casting well before hitting some of those special places where you’re guaranteed a beautiful fish. That river never ceases to amaze me with the amount and variety of trout waiting in its waters. Even Derek, as a beginning caster, was getting hits and could have had a few great fish on his line. He will tell you it’s because he’s just a natural athlete, I’m going to tell you it’s because he had a great coach and teacher. You can choose your own opinion.

That being said, I know people all favor certain rods for certain situations, but I cannot speak highly enough of the Orvis Clearwater and Orvis Helios 2 as learning rods. They both have a wonderful ability to allow the fisher to feel the rod load – which makes teaching the tactile part of fly-fishing so much easier. Derek also tried casting with a Sage Pulse and he really liked that rod as well. Orvis holds a special place in my heart, so I’ll admit to a bias.

As soon as his cast was smooth and he wasn’t getting tangles and knots every other cast, we ventured a little further into the canyon. Sure as shit, he lands an absolutely gorgeous rainbow that was probably a good 12-14” on the dry not too long after we landed in the new spot. After netting the fish and getting it off the line, I set him up to hold it underwater and keep ‘em wet while I grabbed my camera for a quick photo of his first fish on the fly. As soon as my back is turned I hear, “AUGGGGH!”.

He had loosened his hold just slightly and that feisty fish got away.

We made sure to get out fishing every single day he was here, even before his flight left yesterday, but he never caught another fish as beautiful as that first rainbow. I have a feeling that this fish is going to live on in infamy and the story of his “almost first fish” will be told many, many times.

We covered a lot of ground while Derek was here. We hiked, fished, climbed, foraged, visited breweries, ate delicious food…..we took in everything Bozeman has to offer.

Out of all the activities that we did, I can’t help but keep thinking about how absolutely wonderful fly-fishing can be for a person. It heals the soul and brings people together on the water. You celebrate each other’s achievements and help laugh off the “lost fish”. Derek and I are very different people – but I think we’re going to be lifetime fishing buddies.