College Ambassadors

My First Encounter with Fly-Fishing

Ever since I met my boyfriend, he has talked about fly-fishing for Redfish on the marsh in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. Being raised catching largemouth bass using bale rods and night crawlers on Tim’s Ford Lake, I never really gave much thought to the sport. Finally, this past January, I got to experience the thrill of fly-fishing.

Winter weather in Pawley’s Island is tricky—one day it will be windy and freezing and the next it will be 65 without a cloud in the sky. Luckily, the day of our fishing trip was sunny with bright blue skies, adding to the overall perfectness of the day. The warmer weather had brought out flocks of seagulls, a few swans, and even a bald eagle. Despite my fear of birds, I enjoyed taking pictures of the surrounding wildlife. Right as we were approaching the boundary of the no-wake zone and were about to go full throttle, my boyfriend jumped up and grabbed his rod and the guide cut the engine.

My adrenaline was pumping as I tried to spot the fish, but my dollar store sunglasses weren’t as good at cutting through the water as my boyfriend’s specialty fishing lenses. My boyfriend made the cast look effortless and landed the fish on the first try. I was already a little discouraged in my ability to fly-fish due to previous failed attempts at practice casting on dry land, and my current inability to even see a fish in the water further lowered my expectations for the day. I enjoy watching people catch fish just as much as the next guy, but nothings beats wrestling one on the line yourself.

This process was repeated a few more times—speeding along and then abruptly cutting the engine to throw a few lines. I mostly just sat and watched, snapping a few pictures now and then, but eventually, my boyfriend decided it was my turn. Although he had seen me try and fail before, I was mortified by the thought of having to cast in front of him again, much less the professional guide. Eventually, I bit the bullet and hopped up on the casting stand and started throwing the line. It wasn’t long before there was a tug and I was so shocked I nearly fell into the water. I was so giggly and giddy while reeling the fish in that my boyfriend had to help me get it onto the boat. Needless to say, I was hooked on fly-fishing after just one catch and can’t wait to go back again this summer.