I’m on the phone making a first date. He gives me a choice; a romantic dinner or a fly fishing adventure. He is an outdoors kinda guy (aren’t most men) so I wanted to make a good impression and choose the later. I’ve never fished a day in my life or anything else in an outdoor environment. What was I thinking? If it didn’t involve shopping or decorating I was lost.

The date would require travel so what would I need to pack? Hmmm….. In the back of my closet I found a farm coat and flannel shirt. So I packed my clothes and bag of makeup/hair products and set off on a new adventure.

I have to put those on? That will look hideous on me! I’m thinking to myself as my date hands me a pair of waders. They were light tan in color with old man suspenders. OMG I’ll look ten pounds heavier! Tyhat color doesn’t work for me. Would you have a pair in a pastel color? I asked as he glared back at me.

It seemed like forever to put on the waders, belt, wading staff and boots. The whole “getup” felt heavy and bulky. And to top the whole assembly off I had to wear a hat! I don’t like hats. They mess my hair up! As we walk towards the river I’m thinking how peaceful the flow of the water sounds…and how will I get out of this garb to pee!

Now we are wading the water. He is holding my arm as I’m slipping and sliding stepping across the rocks. I’m thinking how many fingernails will I end up breaking here! He can tell by now I’m sure that I’ve never fished a day in my life.

Valet casting, yes that’s right, he cast my line out and hands me the fly rod. Thank goodness, I had the line all wrapped up and tangled every time I tried to cast.

My indicator starts to dip down in the water and he shouts to set the hook. Well after several missed opportunities he helped me to hook a fish and reel it in.. Wow! My first fish ever…a beautiful rainbow trout. Now he wants me to pick the fish up and hold it for a picture. I hope my lipstick hadn’t faded off. Actually touch that slimy thing, Yuck!

It didn’t take long on that cool November day for me to get cold. My fingers and toes were numb. I’m not a cold weather gal at all. We moved further upstream. I was getting a little better at the fishing thing then I slipped on the rocks and down I went. “Splash”, into the cold water! He was laughing and telling me “no swimming"!” I was instantly froze, done fishing and hoped my mascara wasn’t running down my face!

That day on the river changed my life forever. It led me to another and another fly fishing trip. I was hooked. I’ve been on this earth almost fifty years and never enjoyed the beauty and tranquility of the outdoors.

I still pack my makeup and hair stuff on my fishing trips. Always wearing my earrings, necklace, colorful shirts and hats. Yes, I’m a hat girl now.

My passion for fly fishing has opened so many doors for me. It was a wake up all to start living, really living. My thoughts aren’t consumed by petty things in life. It turned my life around. My confidence has resurfaced and I feel as though I can do anything.

I’m still learning the art of fly fishing and will never be great but thats ok. I have come a long way since that first rainbow, mind, body and soul. I enjoy days on a peaceful stream, listening to the flow of the clear mountain water. Not a care in the world, emptying my soul into that flow and healing anything and everything. It truly is “healing waters.”

Now I think about where will I fish? What part of our beautiful state of West Virginia will I travel to next? How can I share my experiences and introduce fly fishing to others? And this my friends is why I founded Women Wine & Waders of West Virginia. A fly fishing group for women to create new friendships and lasting memories. Doesn’t matter if your new or a seasoned angler….welcome.

Tight Lines….Pam

Trevor Coffman