Deriving A Dream
This is no trophy fish story, and more than we all would like to admit it, a certain comradery is formed as we fish together. Often all that remains of epic adventures are a few fish stories and mostly, the company we shared in that experience. I can remember hundreds of times fishing with my father and grandfather, yet when i think back i can’t remember ever landing a fish. I am sure there were many caught and lost over the years but what remains are the impressions of people who brought me to their favorite finspots and how their influences shaped the corners of my soul.
This tale began years ago in college while learning how to derive the volume of Gabriel’s trumpet. The mathmatician’s joke that you can find out how much paint it takes to cover the trumpet but to estimate how long it is just isn’t possible. My mind drifted further from a class, where i was surrounded by unknown boys and girls trying to get ahead in life. Alone. My railroad of thought, took me back to days steel-heading in B.C, fighting monster sea run red-banded rainbow trout. Little did i know that the flame stoked inside my soul was about to spread like wildfire into the insides of another.
He sat somewhere in my vicinity, often with the same glazed scared look in his eyes as Professor Cannon fired off equations like it was the turning point of the war. Yes, that was his real name! That young man and I became entangled in a group of engineers as our study group and could never quite keep up. At some point both of us would simply phase out and begin chattering about fishing and hunting stories, trying to one up the other with a better bigger story. My stories always involved fly-fishing and his were spinners and spoons. He asked me to teach him to fly-fish and so the match was struck and his ability to focus anymore was well…..toast.
We spent many fishless days on the water learning the basics of casting then mending, and like all of us, he resisted nymphing for fish. I remember days where I swear, he never dipped a line in the water, simply just sat retying knots over and over again. I would land a fish and in return for my valient catch, get a look of disgust as he returned to the rats nest of bobbers, twigs and nymphs sitting before him. His knots got better and so did his casting. He often would get the acclaimed bucket shot shout with the slightest of effort and began to surpass my abilities when it came to accuracy. I still badgered him every chance i got to get him nymphing, and that one day he would regret not learning the art of subsurface fishing. And with all the commotion we fished on.
Further down the road we found ourselves knee deep in the Salmon River near Shoup, Idaho, swinging flies in the nastiest coldest snow storm on Thanksgiving I could fathom. We had no idea where the fish were, whether there were actually steelhead in the river, but we pressed on. And through all of it this new friend of mine had the will of ten men to keep fishing through it. Weeks prior I had teased him with fish porn of steelhead 3 to 4 feet long that swam in hoards to the headwaters of this stream. His mind was made up and that fire was burning strong to catch his first piece of chrome. So far…my stories of fish just stories.
3 Trips and 7 days on the water later his skunk still held strong. It was like a family of skunks had settled in and had it out for him! Still he fished on, never deviating and perfecting his casts with the spey while watching closely each time i set up a nymph rig. If everyone of us could have the determination that this man had the world would undoubtedly be a better place. It was the 2nd day of the trip and I had just hooked a good sized fish and there he was as excited as a kid on christmas to watch and help land it.
His karma was building and beyond ready to explode. After the photo-op he grabbed the nymph rod from my hand and said “this is my rod now.” I smiled, delighted to see that endearing kid push harder than ever for that damned fish. He made a few casts and something was different about him. His casts were smooth, the mends were perfect and of course a little sunshine that day helped out. I watched as his indicator just vaporized as it was ripped from the surface by a massive fish. He played the fish for several minutes with the to and fro we often see with steelhead, we caught glimpses of red bands and a long stout body but never a clear view of how big this buck was. After 10 minutes of the cat an mouse game the fish was done playing, he lowered his head in the water and made one final explosive thrust upriver. I watched as the fish went from near landing distance to gone. All that came back was slack line. Nothing could have been done to prevent that fish from running. My $500 Sage disc reel just couldn’t slow the beast. This is where true character separates the men from the boys. Rather than quitting, or cursing(which I would have done) or even getting down on the lost fish, he smiled reset the rig and went right back at it! He proceeded to hook and land his first steelhead. While the fish was no monster, it was a solid piece of chrome and Morgans first one. His shit eating grin went from ear to ear. The years of learning practicing and shortcomings had came to a head with how perfectly he played both fish. From there, the pictures tell the story of one mans dedication to derive a dream. A fishing buddy for life.
Posted on November 23, 2013, in steelhead and tagged Artificial fly, chrome, drift boat, fall, finspots.com, Fish, Fish stories, Fly fishing, hyde, Idaho, north fork lodge, Nymph, Outdoors, Rainbow trout, Recreation, Redington, Rio, Sage, salmon, Salmon River, Shoup, Simms, smith optics, spey, spey fishing, Steelhead, steelies, stoneflies, swinging, trout. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.