A Grandfather's Luck and Legacy

By William Hereford

I’ve been told that certain hobbies and passions skip a generation. My grandfather took me trout fishing at the age of nine. And though it captivated me then, I did not pick up a fly rod again until I was 33 and on assignment in Slovenia with the writer Charles Gaines. I watched Charles mend his line over and over and eventually set his hook on a rising rainbow. I realized immediately that pulling trout from the water was something I needed to do again.

Shortly after I got home, I dug my late grandfather’s three-weight from my closet—a gift I received when he passed 15 years before—and headed to the river. While feeding the guides with his ancient leader, I realized my grandfather was likely the last person to have touched the rod, and I thought long and hard about how baffling it is that the rig outlived him.

It was a very lucky day. The fishing conditions were perfect, and I had the dumb luck of choosing a weighted prince nymph over a saltwater streamer, but still, I managed to pull nine fish out of the water that morning. I think about my gear now whenever I’m rigging up for a day of fishing; my future grandchildren finding it stashed and waiting in the back of their closets.  

 The author's grandfather