It was just another fishing day in the Bahamas, seven years ago, when John Fall hit the water with Bill Shepherd. Their target: bonefish.
Only Shepherd was using a fly rod.
"I saw what he was doing, and I was hooked," said Fall, 45. "I've fished all of my life, but I've really gotten into fly fishing since that day."
Fall, who works in the advertising department at The Virginian-Pilot, has taken new-found casting skills on several excursions - simply to get more experience, mind you. The Virginia Beach resident has tossed flies throughout the mid-Atlantic, catching big bluefish, rockfish, cobia and dolphin. He's even gotten into the roots of the sport, where mountain trout fishing is king.
Fall, his 13-year-old son Davis, and Trent Fallin recently returned from a trip to Mossy Creek, near Harrisonburg, where they fished with Mossy Creek Fly Fishing guide Colby Trow.
Davis caught six rainbow and brown trout combined, Fall had five, and Fallin had eight. Using flies with barbless hooks made for easy releases of everything caught.
"We missed some real pigs (big fish). It was fantastic fishing this time," Fall said. "Colby and his guide service have access to a private, stocked stretch of Mossy Creek, and the fishing is amazing. We fished all day and, other than the cows, saw nobody else all day.
"We've fished there before, but this was one of our better trips."
Because stretches of the river are extremely small, casting skills are very important.
"It's really tight in some places," Fall said. "Makes it pretty interesting."
Fall also enjoys having his son, a rising eighth-grader at Lynnhaven Middle School, along on trips.
"He's ate up with it," Fall said with a proud smile. "Baseball and fishing."
Fall said he is noticing an "uptick" in the popularity of fly casting for saltwater species.
He thinks the waters around southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina are perfect for the sport.
"There as so many species it will work on," he said. "I'd move to do more of it myself.
"I think the next thing I really want to target is white marlin when we have another one of those great runs in the late summer."
Lee Tolliver, 757-222-5844 , email@example.com
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