Kids Say the Darndest Things: Fly Fishing Edition


With the marginal fishing conditions we’ve been experiencing all over the Smoky Mountain region I’ve been able to spend time around the house without the urge to take off and do some fishing. Charity and I are fortunate to have two beautiful children and raise them in such a great place.

Our daughter Willow is four years old, but already a veteran of numerous float trips, countless jaunts into the Smokies, and even four Western fly fishing road trips. She can readily identify the four basic trout species and tell you where she’s even caught each of them plus smallmouth bass.

The Rutter brood of fly fishers

The Rutter brood of fly fishers

I’ll usually tell anglers I’m guiding to be sure and stop me if I say something that they might not understand because I have a family where my wife is also a fly fishing guide and my children grow up with it all around them. It’s easy for me to think of many things in fly fishing as common knowledge because it’s the topic of everyday conversation in our household. My daughter regularly asks if the fish were rising when I come home from work.

We see as many black bears behind our house every year as we do in the National Park and my daughter still marvels at boats that don’t have oars. Last spring our daughter excitedly pointed at the center console on my brother-in-law’s bass boat and exclaimed, “Look Daddy! You can DRIVE this boat!”

The other day Willow picked up a small object from under our Christmas tree. It was spherical and about half the size of a raisin. Half of it was painted red and the other half was white. Willow brought it over to me and asked what it was. I wasn’t sure myself and went over to the tree to see if I could figure out where it came from.

I immediately went to a decoration near the tree that’s a fishing Santa Claus. It’s one of those a lot of fly fishers receive this time of year. The fishing Santa isn’t holding a fly rod and he has a stocking full of fish. He bears a bit of a resemblance to poachers we’ve heard about; not exactly the type of angler we run with, but it’s Santa and someone went out of their way to get it for us so we put it out at Christmas time.

You decide: Cute Santa decoration or unrepentant poacher. Notice where he keeps the fish bigger than the slot limit

You decide: Cute Santa decoration or unrepentant poacher. Notice where he keeps the fish bigger than the slot limit

Anyway, I figured out the little red and white ball my daughter found on the floor was Santa’s bobber and that’s what I told her. She wrinkled her nose and examined it closer, then looked back up at me. “What’s a bobber?”

“That’s Santa’s strike indicator,” I explained.

“Oooohh….. Why didn’t you just say so!”

Warmest wishes from our family to yours for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hazel Creek spring 2010


  1. Love the bobber/strike indicator story…funny stuff…