Otis Hardy a free lance sports writer for daily newspapers and his oldest daughter Jackie had a bond born out of fly fishing adventures. This is a beautiful area not easily forgotten especially for Jackie of Evanston, Illinois. Looking back to her fly fishing days with her late father, Jackie was moved to find those rivers and streams they fished together so long ago. Her memories where vivid of two track roads to late night mayfly hatches on the Maple River. But where were those special places her father took her too?
Jackie had returned to the north with her oldest daughter, Emily, who had heard stories of those fishing days from Mom. Emily wanted to try the long forgotten fly rods her grandfather had so cherished. Mr. Hardy gave no leeway to Jackie just because she was a girl (he had no sons) and she had faced some tough challenges. She would have to fish with her Dad under very trying circumstances. Learn fast and keep up during dark night hatches on the river.
Walloon Lake, the Jordan River, the Sturgeon River and my forte the Maple River...Jackie's questions after almost a half century came fast, where did he take me when we fished near an old power dam? Where were we on the Maple River that was filled with logs and flowed out of a small lake? I answered each question while instructing her daughter Emily on the basics of small river fly fishing. Jackie was no stranger to the a fly rod. Her daughter, only thirteen, was a novice with a high desire to learn.
The mother / daughter team were eager. These ladies were game. They fished hard deep into the dark of the night. They took charge of their equipment, tying on flies, landing fish, all the while refusing help. There was no quit in these two. As the pieces of long ago fishing excursions fell into place for Mom, Emily's abilities to command the fly rod began to take hold. Smooth over head cast, mend the line, she seamed to be drawing on some hidden talent, or just maybe the spirit that was her grandfather's love of fly fishing in northern Michigan.