A few weeks ago I signed up for a fly fishing workshop that was jointly sponsored by the National Park Service, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the Federation of Fly Fishers. The event was targeted for beginners and was held at a nearby state park. Lasting about five hours it included information about the history of fishing, information about nymphs and flies, a casting demonstration, and a chance to tie your own fly. Then after lunch we were all loaned fly fishing rods and were able to get individualized help with our casting. This whole experience was new to me. Like many people, fly fishing seemed to me to be a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors and I thought it might be another way to explore and enjoy my home state of Minnesota. So yesterday I purchased a fly fishing outfit (a rod and reel combination) and decided to try my luck today. This morning we headed out early with our canoe to a local lake. During all of my practice-casting at the workshop I had been standing up on dry land, and now today I was seated in the front of a canoe and trying to remember everything I’d been taught a few weeks ago. My first cast was a little weak, but I told myself I was just a beginner and I was using a new rod and reel for the first time. My second cast looked much better, but even more surprising was that I caught a fish! Of course at the workshop we hadn’t been given any instruction in how to reel a fish in or how to land it. And this fish was bending my new rod and trying to swim under the canoe. With some great assistance and coaching, I was able to bring in my first large-mouth bass — a whopping two-pounder. OK, maybe not whopping, but this fish did it’s job of “hooking” me on fly fishing. Although we didn’t have much luck the rest of the morning, I could always think of that second cast and landing a bass. Later this afternoon I was reading a fishing article in the newspaper. The writer referred to a saying that I would agree with: “The hours spent fishing are not deducted from your lifetime.” I had just spent a blue-sky summer morning on a Minnesota lake with my canoeing and fishing partner, and had even had some fishing success.