I remember in 7th grade buying this book on fly fishing
In it contained all the worldly knowledge that an eager kid could want: info on rods, leaders, flies, how to cast, how to dry fly fish etc. Looking at the pictures of the authors fishing around the country blew me away. An 18" brown seemed like a monster to me. I'd only caught a couple of 8-9" brook trout that migrated out of a local pond to spawn. We had to crawl on our hands and knees and dap a worm to catch those little gems. If they saw you they were gone. Such was the state of my passion that one opening day a buddy and I slept outside, got up at the crack of dawn, and biked to an estuary to fly fish for trout. If it had been twenty years later we might have caught some stripers. I think we even were using dry flies. We had the fire, but not the knowledge.
Anyways my forays into fly fishing didn't get more serious until I went to college in western Massachusetts. I didn't have much of a clue but then I read these two books Richards and Swisher and Fly fishing Strategy and learned to tie some flies.
In western Massachusetts I found two tail waters and started learning via the school of hard knocks. I didn't catch many trout with a fly rod in my hands so I often reverted back to the spinning rod in order to catch something. After my sophomore year two buddies and I headed to Alaska. Our plan was to go to AK and work in the canneries. Of course I brought my fly rod and spinning rod. That's where things changed dramatically for me in terms of fly fishing. More of that in my next chapter.