Archive - April, 2015

So Perfect

Ever have an experience that was so perfect that you really can’t bring yourself to go there again? How could it possibly get better. The thrill of the chase, possibility of complete failure, or anticipation of danger.

I took this shot of one of the first trout I caught last spring while fishing on the Lower Deschutes right before the peak of the Salmon Fly Hatch. The day turned out to be the best day I have had in 39 years of fishing (I think I caught my first fish with my granddad when I was about 5).

The truth is I doubt I could possibly experience anything better. It all seemed perfect from the friendship during the day, the saltiness of the guide, the smell of the river and of course the 120 some fish we caught between the three of us or the lunker 19″ redside I battled and landed near the end of the day.fish

But, like many things in life I think if we let go and embrace what comes at us we will be pleasantly surprised. I will go fishing again (and I did a month later up at a beautiful wilderness lake and caught the biggest brook trout I have ever seen).

We love again, we risk a new business venture, we try out a new skill.

We do it with expectation even if failure, complete chaos seems headed our way or everyone tells us we are nuts. If something in us says go, then we go.

Retired Flies

I am not sure when I started this practice. I think it might have been when I was fishing the Donner und Blitzen river in 1994 and caught a huge Great Basin redband rainbow trout (a species that is only native to the Great Basin region). The fish was so big that folds of fat hung down between my fingers in the picture my friend Dave snapped. I will have to share that picture sometime.

optimizedIt was a very special memory that I did not want to forget. Yes I had a picture of the fish and I don’t think I could ever forget the battle it gave me before Dave was able the net it. But for some reason I took that caddis fly and stuck it in my hat, vowing to never use it again. It had served its purpose well.

And really, it is just fur, feather and some steel. But I think a fly like that is a monument. I have many of them. Sometimes I do this with a fly that caught a first fish on a river I have never fished before. Most times it is like that 21 inch redband, a true trophy, or a fish that against many odds met the end of my line or gave me an epic fight.

Many ancient cultures have done things like this throughout the ages. Hikers leave rock cairns on stream banks, warriors mark where fallen comrades fought bravely and died. A Journey’s end or pilgrimage are often memorialized with a symbol or a word scrawled into rock.

We don’t stop and think about this often today. We post to a network when an great event takes place. While these might be markings similar to those others have done in the past they most likely will disappear with the arrival of a new platform. And what does it really cost us? Logic would say that if a fly brought such a moment to life, I should keep using the thing until it is completely spent. But it has earned me way more than several more catches could bring.