Fly Fishing Dates: A brief history from a heartbroken Bushwhacker

Fly Fishing Dates: A brief history from a heartbroken Bushwhacker

BY: Mark Rossi

My girlfriend is the best! She loves to fly fish. We go together every weekend. She packs us lunches and picks the driving playlist…tons of Tragically Hip and Bob Dylan! We talk strategy on the drive out; what flies to start the day off with, what areas of the river she wants to work first, etc…  The best part is that she is good! She can sometimes outfish me. At the end of the day we usually sit beside the river and drink beers and watch the sunset and laugh, joke and reminisce about the day we had on the river.

What a catch she is. Can you believe how lucky I am?

NO, of course you can’t.

I am single…

If anybody out there has a girlfriend like this please marry her. You are a lucky man.

Lisa was never able to actually catch a fish, despite numerous attempts… I think she had fun though.

Although the girl described above is not real, she exists in my dreams. And in the dreams of many fellow bushwhackers out there.

The dream of a girlfriend who doesn’t frown and say “I thought we had plans to go to the Japanese gardens with Sarah and Jim this Saturday?” when you bring up your plans to go fishing on the weekend. Alas, that is all those plans will ever be: a dream. 

So as I stumble my way through the world of women, I have sought to shape, slowly but surely, my romantic partners into romantic fishing partners. TO NO AVAIL WHATSOEVER.

My highschool girlfriend after catching her first Bass…not wanting to touch it

It became abundantly clear on my most recent “fishing date”  that this may be a futile endeavour and maybe there is some higher power working against me on this one.

Enter Victoria. I met Victoria in April of this year at my buddy’s birthday. Since then we have gotten to know each other and slowly started going on dates more frequently. She is adventurous at heart, keen to try new things and generally outdoorsy. This summer I figured it was time to get a fly rod in her hands.

So I planned a secret fishing excursion. Secret in the way that it was framed as “we were going hike to a waterfall” and on the drive back there just happened to be a great lake to watch the sunset at. She didn’t know there would be fishing involved until well into the date, and the “Oh look at all the fish jumping on the lake!” moment when I very convieneintly happened to have two rods in my trunk…

Boom! rods out and ready to go!

She was hesitant.  

“Well the last time I fished I was really young and well….” she trailed off.

“What? Tell me, I feel like there is a story there” I said

“Well, I was fishing for trout in the Yukon (she used to live there) and on one of my first casts I threw I snagged my knee and got all three of the barbed hooks on the spinner stuck deep in there…” as she pointed to a nasty looking scar just above her knee. “I had to go to the clinic and they had to freeze it to remove the hooks!”

Geez, well, not the warm, receptive welcome I was hoping for.  

“Don’t worry” I promised her, “I have been fly fishing for a loooong time and I have never hooked a human, only fish! It will be fun!”

And it was fun. The fish were biting… they were small but biting at least. We pulled a little rainbow out and watched it flop around before tossing it back in that peaceful lake high fiving each other. I was teaching her to cast, standing behind her one arm around her waist the other gently guiding her hand back and forth. Sun setting over a calm lake. SUPER FUCKIN ROMANTIC.

All of the sudden a huge fish jumped right near us. Instinct kicked in. No more arm around the waist, no more gentle guiding. “This one is mine” I said probably far too aggressively as I grabbed the rod out of her hands.

As I quickly walked along the shore to the proximate area of the rise. I crossed my casting arm over to the other side of my body to do a few backhand false casts to dry the fly off… well mostly to show off my skills actually. After a few of these false casts. I turned to look at Victoria as if to say “Watch me catch this monster” As I was turning my head I felt a sharp tug along my jawline, followed by a sharp pain…. I wasn’t sure what happened. I locked eyes with Victoria and watched her face turn to horror.

I had a barbed size 14 Royal Wulff embedded in my face.

This is how I found myself sitting in the front seat of my car examining the damage in my rear view mirror with Victoria sitting beside me watching with a sort of fascinated horror as I tried to decide the best way to approach this problem.

Now, I know, there is a proper way to take a barbed hook out of skin (and fish for that matter) without causing much damage or pain. When you actually have a fucking hook in your face, you don’t think about that. That is why I made the decision to just pull on it as hard as I could until it came out… With a lot of grunting and yelling from me and a bit of screaming from Victoria I twisted pulled, tugged and yanked at that little fly. It was super painful. Finally, with one final big pull the fly popped out. Victoria screamed… so did I.

So, with that… Our romantic sunset fishing date concluded.

We drove back into town on the dusty logging road. As I dropped her off, I apologized to her that she had to witness that. She apologized to me claiming that she was cursed; 2/2 when it comes to catching humans. But she smiled at me and said. “I think you’re quite the catch”

We ended things a few days later… But feel no pity for me. The sushi dates were no longer cutting it. And the fish, well they were still out there, waiting for me to compromise my love life.

I learned a few things from this experience:

  1. Sucks to be a fish…. I am deffs switching to only barbless
  2. I don’t think Victoria will be engaging in any more fishing adventures, at least not for a a little while.
  3. Don’t steal a rod from someone’s hands; karma is a bitch
  4. Maybe you can’t force it so much; let your partner see the passion that you have for this beautiful pursuit and let that rub off on them. And if it doesn’t, oh well, you might be grateful for the alone time.


Hope y’all enjoyed! It was a good summer of bushwhackin’ enjoy the snow and maybe a little ice fishin’. Til Next time.


One thought on “Fly Fishing Dates: A brief history from a heartbroken Bushwhacker

  1. Rare perhaps but it’s not entirely true that women don’t like fly fishing. I love it! More women need to discover that it’s totally awesome. I rarely get invited by guys to go fly fishing. Something about fearing that I will take their spots. To be fair, that is a real risk. P.S. if any guy were to grab my rod out of my hand while fish are rising I would slap him. 🙂

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