School ended here not long ago, and with it came backpacks and bags of left over supplies and school papers. My nine-year-old daughter had several bags all by herself. One of the items that she brought home was an art project in the shape of a bucket with “My Summer Bucket List” written on it.
The first thing listed on her bucket list was “tie flies better than I do.” Nothing my daughter does ever surprises me because in a lot of ways, we think alike. She loves animals and nature, and I have always thought that she would love fly fishing. Also, fly fishing can be a deep sport by learning about habitat, entomology, and the skill needed to catch different fish, and my little girl is a deep deep thinker. Still, I was a bit surprised that it was her number one on her bucket list.
A few days later we decided to tie some flies, so we headed to my work shop. I have a big stool there and she quickly claimed it and sat upon it.
“What kind of fly do you want to tie?”
“Anything but foam Dad.”
She decided it would be a woolly bugger, so we both tied one side by side. She worked on my first tying vice and I worked on my rotating renzetti. She worked slow and methodical. At first she said that she didn’t want the fly we were tying, but as we got deep into the project, she declared that she wanted it.
After finishing a few flies, she ran to her room to get her fly box. Her fly box is one of my first attempts at making a wooden magnetic box. When I was unhappy with my creation, she quickly snagged it up for herself. It mostly contains flies that her brother made, and she acquired them by purchasing them from him.
Upon opening it, she started to reorganize them according to type. I was shocked at her ability to categorize them by sinking or floating or body shape. There were of course woolly buggers, some nymphs, and some floating flies. She quickly made a spot for her new flies, shut the box, and ran back to her room.
A few days later, I asked to see her fly box and she let me. When I was done admiring all the little flies, she took out the first fly that we made the other day and said, “I really like this fly Dad.” The smile on her face just warmed my heart. She put her fly box back in its home in her room, a room that contains Barbies, too many stuffed animals, her piano keyboard, a picture of a horse, and lots of notebooks filled with many things. Ultimately, she will decide if she becomes a fly tier or fly fisher, but it’s wonderful to see her enjoy something that she created.
My wife and I have talked and agree that she should have her own fly tying set, so that will come next for her.