Mark Foley’s First Fish: New Hampshire Brook Trout

Do you remember catching your first fish?  I do, and more importantly, I remember who I was with. My first fish on a fly rod was an Eastern Brook Trout, other wise known as Salvelinus Fontinalis.  I was in the third grade, and I was with an o…

Do you remember catching your first fish?  I do, and more importantly, I remember who I was with. My first fish on a fly rod was an Eastern Brook Trout, other wise known as Salvelinus Fontinalis.  I was in the third grade, and I was with an older boy from my neighborhood, named Mike Vinsel. Mike had taken me fishing on many occasions, but this time our adventure would be different, and it forever changed my life!

We did not ride our bikes to this new fishing location, it was too far to make the roundtrip journey in one day. I remember driving past my school and shortly after, my mother dropped us off. With rods in hand, and backpacks filled with food and fishing equipment, we followed a small stream through the woods.  The hike in was a jagged transformation from my mom's huge 1970 car, to a living forest, pulsing with eye opening beauty.  We arrived at a spot, and I stood upon my very first New England small stream pool.  This was no pond or lake water, with featureless darkness.  It was crystal clear, and boy was it magical.  I could see the bottom, easily seeing the colors of each pebble and the yellow patches of sand.  The sun was out, the sky was blue, and the trees were in full green. I immediately felt comfortable, as though I never wanted to leave this cozy micro-haven. Mike did what Mike was very good at, he caught fish, and lots of them.  I can remember watching the fish attack his fly -- I had never seen anything like this.  I stood frozen, glued, trying to see where the fish were coming from.  One second, nothing was visible, and then suddenly, a Brook Trout was attacking his fly; was this a trick, I thought to myself.  Mike gave me the fly rod (fiber-glasss Fenwick) and soon I was reeling in my first Eastern Brook Trout.  The colors on that fish were like nothing I had ever seen. I stared at the rainbow of colorful dots on its flank.  I was motionless, in a trance, but my mind and heart were exploding in joy.  I still get this feeling each time I catch a Brook Trout; especially the small wild colorful ones.        

Shortly after catching my first EBT, my family moved from New Hampshire to Connecticut.  I was sad to leave my fishing mentor and buddy behind.  As I type, I have not seen or talked to Mike in exactly thirty-nine years. Well, just a few days ago, that changed -- I found him on Facebook.  We have reconnected.  I was hopeful we could meet in person, but I discovered he now lives and works in Japan.  Regardless, reconnecting with Mike via digital means, has been one of the best life moments for me. Why?  Allow me to explain.


  • First and most importantly, I finally had the chance to thank Mike for being my fishing buddy. Time spent with Mike has had a HUGE positive impact on my life.  I have never forgotten about Mike -- our shared memories have never left my mind and soul (i.e. Mike was always with me, whether I was fishing in the USA or around the globe).
  • My family home environment was not healthy.  As a result, there are just a few things in my life that truly make me feel 100% safe and comfortable. Fishing and nature are two of those things. Prior to fishing with Mike, and until I caught my first EBT, I never felt such pure safety and comfort. Something very good happened to me on that day. Again, I am eternally grateful that I had a fishing buddy/mentor who took me under his wings and brought such good energy into my life.
  • Contrary to what you may see, hear, or believe, in honor of what Mike shared with me (fishing and nature), my mission in the fly-fishing world/biz has always been to pay it forward -- to provide a safe, comfortable, and memorable experience for clients and friends.  Fishing can heal -- I am living proof!  If I can be a mentor like Mike, I am a happy soul.  

Over the past several days, Mike and I have been swapping old fishing stories -- attempting to recall events that happened over thirty-five years ago.  During this process, yet again, my fishing mentor did something that ROCKED my world.  He sent me the following hand drawn pieces that reflect our experiences catching EBT's.  Life has not always been easy for me, but at this very moment, I feel blessed and truly lucky. Words cannot begin to describe the emotions I had when I first looked at these drawings.  Reconnecting with Mike has been the greatest catch of my life!


This was a tough spot for a young third grader, but I can remember watching my mentor catch EBT's at this location.  

If I showed you this spot today, you would never believe EBT lived there.  Just a short bike ride from our neighborhood, we had many EBT streams and brooks. 
This is the spot where I caught my first EBT!  It was a magical experience that forever changed my life.  


Final Words

My story took place in the mid 1970's, in the Amherst, New Hampshire area.  It was a time when boys rode their bikes many miles to go fishing, and were only told to be home by dark. Obviously, we live in a different world today.  Perhaps, kids riding bikes through a sea of chaos, to catch a fish, is not the best idea. Regardless, I hope you can find a way to go fishing because some things don't change -- friendship and fishing are still important, and both, just might have a tremendous impact on your life.  

Thanks and looking forward to reading your story.

Mark

PS.  Mike, thanks for sharing your wonderful artwork!

Two Hand Fly Casting Lessons: Available in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts

In Patagonia, on extreme windy days, the use of a two hand rod can be a very useful. Two-Hand Rods (Switch)We make learning how to cast a two hand rod simple.  We won’t spend hours spewing facts and terminology at you — this is probably the …

In Patagonia, on extreme windy days, the use of a two hand rod can be a very useful. 


Two-Hand Rods (Switch)


We make learning how to cast a two hand rod simple.  We won't spend hours spewing facts and terminology at you -- this is probably the worst thing an instructor could do. You will immediately engage your mind and body, and learn by success and failure. Further, in our opinion, there is no need to sign-up for a full day or two day school -- we don't believe in these long classes, filled with many students and typically, only one instructor.

We will focus on basics, building a solid foundation that will enable you to begin fishing ASAP.  We will also provide a step-by-step process leading to more advance techniques.  In other words, in the game of two hand rods, we crawl before we walk; walk before we run; run before we sprint.  If you understand the principles of single hand roll casting, and your roll casting technique is sound, I can have you two hand casting within minutes.


Your Learning Options

Option A:

  • If your single hand roll casting technique does not exist, or is average/poor/etc., it might be extremely helpful to take a single hand casting class.  During this two - three hour class, we will spend 100% of our time mastering the roll cast (all variations and techniques).  By taking this approach, you will gain much needed knowledge and experience, and begin to build the foundation of all two hand casting styles/techniques (FYI, all two hand casting techniques begin with mastering the roll cast).

Option B:

  • If your single hand roll casting knowledge and technique is at an advance/expert level, we can enter the water and immediately begin to focus on the following casts: Switch, Snap T, Single and Double Spey, Overhead, Basic Roll, Snake Roll and more.

For Rates and More Information

http://firstcastflyfishing.blogspot.com/p/lessons-guiding_22.html


Caught with Over-Head casting technique, in 30 mph wind.  I can teach this technique for on-shore walk-wade Striper fishing.  
















Final Words

For the past five years, in many environments around the globe, I have been using two hand rods. The majority of my experience using such rods has been in Patagonia.  The Patagonia winds are relentless, making the learning process brutal -- you learn very quickly if your technique is poor. Truth be told, such conditions have made me a better single and two hand angler and casting instructor. The net result, when you work with me, you are working with a qualified instructor who has real global fishing experience.

I am more than happy to share my real world fishing and casting experience with you.  Thanks for reading, and looking forward to meeting you.

Mark




    The Golden Age of Dorados: Guide DIY Fishing in Buenos Aires

    For the history buff living in England, when the phrase Golden Age is used, he/she may think of Queen Elizabeth the first.  However, if the phrase Golden Age was used amongst Englishmen traveling and fishing in Argentina, it could very well mean s…

    For the history buff living in England, when the phrase Golden Age is used, he/she may think of Queen Elizabeth the first.  However, if the phrase Golden Age was used amongst Englishmen traveling and fishing in Argentina, it could very well mean something entirely different.  For instance, I am now certain that when Terrance (client from England) hears the word golden, or any phrase containing the word golden, he's thinking of one thing -- Golden Dorado.






















































    Generally, March is not the best time to fish for Golden Dorado.  However, we have worked very hard to find locations where the bite is on, even in the off-season.  If you are in Buenos Aires and have a few days to spare, come fish with us, and enjoy the Golden Age of Dorados. 

    Gratitude

    To all of our clients, we THANK YOU.  Your patronage directly effects the lives of people/families living in the communities we fish.  Why/How?  It's pretty simple; we only work with local guides and business owners, who support our guided DIY philosophy. So, every step of the way, you are working directly with a person who is committed to his/her profession, and is dedicated to their community.

    Thanks for reading.  If you are ready for an adventure, we are ready to book your next Argentina fishing and hunting trip.

    Saludos Amigos

    Mark