"Sometimes, you just need to go downstairs and waggle a rod..." - Scott Hanson

"Write what you know. If you don't know, make it up..." - Scott Hanson

"A dude can't live on just two fly rods alone..." - Scott Hanson

Man, I have some deep thoughts...

Monday, January 15, 2018

My Dad, My Instructor

I tend to say that I am a self-taught fly caster, but that's not entirely true. While I have never had an actual casting lesson from an actual instructor, my dad, Steve, did give me some rudimentary lessons when I first started flailing away with a fly rod, back around the age of ten. He wasn't the most fluent of casters, but he had done some fly fishing when he was younger, so he knew the basics. Actually, looking back at it now, he pretty much only taught me how to roll cast, and then I filled in the rest on my own. But, he was a good roll caster! Even later on, when I would take him fishing, he pretty much just roll casted all the time... Hey, it worked for him, and he was a stubborn old Norwegian, so who was I to try to get him to change?
My dad, Steve, knew how to roll cast...

Speaking of him and his roll casting, I can't tell you how many times I saw him plop himself at the head of a pool and roll cast a size 14 beadhead orange scud down into the pool, and then just let it sit there in the current, putting a tiny amount of movement on it with his rod tip every once in a while. The fly would just hang there, not like an actual scud at all, yet time after time he would catch a few trout, some of which were good sized. I would routinely outfish him, but he didn't care. He would catch some fish, which justified his unorthodox style, and he was happy. I told you he was a stubborn old Norwegian...
Size 14 Beadhead Orange Scuds

My dad was also my first fly tying instructor. Just like with fly fishing, his knowledge of fly tying was somewhat limited, and that same knowledge was about 30 years old when I got my first fly tying kit. But I was eager to learn, so he taught me everything he knew. Together we made some enormous and gaudy wet flies that started unraveling as soon as they were out of the vise; some cork bodied poppers with terrible paint jobs; and some other flies that didn't really fit into any categories, other than maybe "fish frighteners". None of our flies back then were very pretty, but they got me excited to learn more, and my dad was smart enough to know there were others out there who could teach me more than he could. Together we found a local fly shop, and he allowed me to take all the fly tying classes I wanted. He may have been stubborn, but he was also a great dad...

Of course those weren't the only things my dad taught me, but they are the things that make sense to write about here on my fly fishing blog. You see, my dad died on Friday. He lost his long battle with aphasia and Alzheimer's. We knew the day was coming, but it still was sad. But it has also been fun to look at old photos and relive old memories. Memories of days on the water and time spent behind the vise with him. Memories of him driving a 12-year-old me out to the fly shop almost every week just to hang out and absorb the knowledge of people who seemed to know what they were talking about. And memories of a 35-year-old me acting as his guide, taking him to new waters he had never fished before. My dad was a great instructor, even though he had some unorthodox ways of doing things. He was my first fishing buddy, and I am going to miss him. I love you, dad!

My dad on the banks of our favorite trout stream. RIP Steve Hanson, 1938-2018


  1. Scott, my condolences to you and your family. There is nothing like an involved father and I know he will be missed.

    1. Thanks Howard! Today was the funeral. There were a few tears shed, but a lot more laughs as we relived some great memories.