Never Too Old to Learn

Bob Ludwig

I started fly fishing about four years ago at the age of 68. It was George Abernathy’s fault (Sun Lakes Fly Fishing club president). He got me started, and then I caught the bug. I enjoyed bait fishing when I was a kid but had limited opportunities to fish during my adult years. After a few attempts at fly fishing, I started to get the hang of it and feeling comfortable about what to do and how to do it.

I had a successful trip on the San Juan River in New Mexico. Same for two trips to the Green River at the Flaming Gorge in Utah, as well as lake fishing above Payson and in the White Mountains. I’ve caught a lot of fish using the traditional casting method of throwing 30 to 50 feet of fly line in the water and stripping it in.

While back in Denver this past summer, I saw that my local fly shop, Arbor Anglers in Boulder, offered fish-a-longs on Wednesday afternoons. James Parker, the owner, would take a few of us novices out to nearby streams and rivers and show us some good fishing spots and teach us new techniques. These fisheries included the St. Vrain River and Boulder Creek. I thought I could use the same fly-fishing method that I had learned previously on the lakes and big rivers; however, on these smaller rivers and streams, I was wrong. These smaller streams and rivers were moving so fast that the water would grab the fly line and the flies and send them downstream very quickly, completely ruining any chance of catching fish. After observing me, James introduced me to Euro Nymph Fishing, otherwise known as “tight line fishing,” which is the method he successfully uses in this type of fast water fishery.

It was quite different from what I was doing, but I soon began to get the hang of it. With long leaders and tippet and no fly line in the water, I was able to catch fish in those faster-moving waters where previously I had no chance. I find this method a lot of fun and, so far, it has been easier to learn than the more traditional methods of fly fishing. I know I have a lot to learn regarding reading the water and getting the feel of the strikes in the faster-moving water, but I am having fun learning it! You would, too!

Being introduced to fly fishing has become one of the joys in my life; however, in addition to keeping our lines wet, supporting the disabled veterans with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing has become just as enjoyable, something our club supports and is dedicated to.

Our club typically meets one or two times monthly. If you enjoy fly fishing and desire meeting others who do, then our club is what you are looking for. Please visit our web page,, or contact George Abernathy at [email protected] for more information.