Casting a look ‘Tangled Lines’

After reading the Jan. 17 Millerton News column ‘Tangled Lines’ by Patrick Sullivan, I am pleased to respond: In his column, Patrick describes a fly-fishing outing on small local Connecticut streams during wintry conditions in early January. Most of you are now thinking: ‘Wow, a lunatic needing professional help.’ Quite the contrary. I perceive Patrick as a savvy, highly experienced angler who, over the years, has challenged himself to become a proficient fly-fisher.

This involving a lengthy determined commitment to succeed through years of persistent hard work, repetition and experimentation creating a comfort and confidence zone that fits one’s individual style. Slightly obsessed? You betcha. Most accomplished sportsmen are such. Unlike most conventional fishing outfits that cast a lure and produce self-professed instant fishermen, fly fishing involves casting the line.

I didn’t start fly fishing until I retired from military service, then a whole new world opened to me. Different rods and line weights which had to be matched to varied leaders and tippets determined by different fishing conditions. I haunted small streams of New York and Connecticut, catching many of the once prevalent, radiant colored brookies and surprisingly a number of rather large browns and the occasional rainbow. The lure of the Housatonic and Farmington rivers soon trapped me, each offering their own challenges and fishing styles. Experience taught me the trout’s habits, defenses and weaknesses. Flies and nymphs of various colors, sizes and weights intrigued me. Presenting a dry fly to a wily surface-sipping trout can be likened to archery. The fly, like the arrow, must strike bull’s-eye, a 1-inch square target at ranges from 5 to 50 feet. Watching an experienced fly-fisher is watching precision art in motion.

Keep the columns coming, Patrick. While age limits my outings these days, perhaps our waterway paths may cross one day. Thank you, Millerton News, for carrying the “Tangled Lines” column. God bless you patriotic readers and your families. Til next time.

Town of North East resident Larry Conklin is a Vietnam veteran and a member of both the Millerton American Legion Post 178 and the VFW Post 6851 in North Canaan, Conn.

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