April 21, 2011 – In late May, I will be on a fishing trip in Colorado.
I will be fly fishing with Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, who spends so much of his time on the water these days. In fact, Gossage’s passion for fishing began when he was a kid, and he hasn’t stopped catching trout since then.
This story will provide Yankees Magazine readers with exclusive insight into where Gossage found refuge for the pressures of baseball, and where he goes to enjoy his post-baseball life today.
Gossage’s agreement to take me with him on a fishing excursion came with one condition.
“You have to learn how to fly fish before you come to Colorado,” Goose told me during our December conversation. “Take some lessons before the trip, because there won’t be time to learn once you get out here.”
I took Gossage’s request to heart. On Tuesday, I received an all-day fly-fishing lesson from Andrew Moy (pictured with me below). Moy owns and operates Tight Lines Fly Fishing, which is New Jersey’s most complete full-service fly shop. In addition to running the Pine Brook, New Jersey store for the last decade, Moy has also established himself as one of the premier fly fisherman and fly-fishing teachers in the North East.
My experience with Moy confirmed his reputation — he is the best in the business. Our lesson began with a one-hour tutorial in the parking lot behind the shop, where I learned the intricacies of casting a fly rod. According to Moy, I made steady progress during that time. But as I expected, things got a lot more difficult when we began fishing in the Raritan River.
The challenges I faced while wading in the river included keeping my balance in waist-high water that was moving quickly down stream, not casting into any trees, which lined the banks of the river, and ultimately, hooking and landing fish.
Needless to say, those factors didn’t exist in the parking lot – which I equated to batting practice.
It took some time getting used to, but I was able to land three fish – two brook trout and one brown trout that ranged in size from 14 inches to 17 inches.
With a little more than a month before I head west, I have my work cut out for me. While I have fished for bass since I was a kid, fly-fishing is a totally different animal.
I am hopeful that my fly-fishing skills will be respectable by the time I am sharing a river with Goose. But I am certain that the feature story about Goose’s favorite pastime will be a must-read.
–Alfred Santasiere III