There are always a number of factors that determine how successful you are – an innate ability, your own personal drive, the people who teach you and always just a bit of serendipity.
As I judge my success at learning how to fly-fish, I cannot leave out Mike Kelly from the Bighorn, who has been my teacher and a special person in my life. Mike has a gentle manner about him that allowed me to be totally incompetent at the same time I was learning and falling in love with this sport that keeps me outdoors and provides a playground for me to constantly learn.
Mike has that ability to know when to teach and when to watch. I’ll never forget the second day I fished with him. We had fished our first day on a section of the Bighorn where most of the other anglers fish. My vision of fly-fishing had been off by myself communing with nature and away from people. And so, on the second day, when nature called, I ended up hanging out in the woods a little longer than expected to just contemplate my surroundings. The next thing I knew Mike appeared and intuitively recommended that we head down to the section of the river where few people ventured. With few exceptions, that is where we have explored every time we visit the river.
Mike belongs on that river as much as the trout, birds or other wildlife. He is always in tune with what is happening around him and passes that knowledge on to those who have the serendipity to have befriended him.