Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Best Fishing Trip I Never Went On

I consider myself a fortunate man. I'm blessed with a wonderfully understanding wife who does her very best to tolerate my obsession with bug chucking, three children who - at least in this early stage of their lives - both adore and respect their father, and a small but tight-knit circle of friends who share my passion for tight loops and an evening spinner fall. Within an easy drive of my home are myriad opportunities to cast a fly in warmwater, coldwater, or saltwater, and my career is such that I'm usually in position to take advantage of these opportunities whenever they arise. Again, I'm a lucky guy.

When I consider that I've been casting a fly, however poorly, for a little over thirty years ... well, I have to admit that the avalanche of memories brings a smile to my face. There are certainly far worse ways to spend the better part of three decades. I owe this and so much more to my father, who had the foresight to give me that first fly rod. I'm grateful, and while I don't know that I could ever repay the debt I owe my dad, I do try to pay it forward whenever the opportunity presents itself.

To that end, I've taught any number of people to tie flies and cast a long rod. I've watched as these folks grow to appreciate that water as I do. In some ways, the small part I've played in the development of each of these anglers affords me the opportunity to live vicariously through their experiences. It feels good to see someone catch a fish on a fly I've taught them to tie, to throw seventy feet of line after a casting lesson, or read the water and locate a fish without any suggestions from me. I suppose it's a teacher thing. The carpenter or mason can step back from his or her work, and know that he or she has done a job well. Teachers can only look to their students, and hope the successes those students achieve might just have something to do with the teacher's tutelage. This brings us to Ben.

Ben and I have fished together quite a bit over the last three or four years. I've helped him clean up his cast, taught him how to tie some knots, and to wrap a hook with fur and feathers. In return, he's helped me rediscover my passion for steelhead, and to think creatively when sitting at the vise. Ben has an artist's eye; I do not.

In the time we've shared stream side, I've watched Ben come into his own as a bug chucker; I'm almost sad to say that he no longer needs my instruction.

That he no longer needs my help was obvious on a recent trip Ben took to Idaho with his uncles. Everyone caught fish, and they did so in some of the most beautiful places in this country. I wasn't able to tag along - although I was invited - but I did get to enjoy the trip vicariously through Ben's photographs and stories. Some of those moments, he's most graciously agreed to share on The Rusty Spinner. With luck, you'll be able to live Ben's vacation as I have. I should tell you that it's probably the best fishing trip I never went on.

The road in...

The Hairy Ass Stone Fly @ the tailout.

No unicorns but a lot of these guys.

The snow had ended...applying desiccant to a blue wing olive.

You should see this place rock on Movie Nite.

First morning...


...more neighbors

Quick Fix...all waders leak.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This IS the picture taker =)
After many partakings (new word, eh?) and dark encounters (Ben wandering back to camp and saying "there's something big there") in the back-country which I call my home, it brings me to realize what incredible scenery and experiences I have had in Idaho. World class brookies, boiling hatches, and sportsmanship come to mind remembering our trip to only one leg of what Idaho has to offer. Reading the blogs makes me want to comment ... where we went you never have to avoid the other fishermen, only moose and their calves. Where we went requires a back pack.... and where we went you may never want to leave.... Thank you, Ben, for bringing our trip to the "next level" of skill, knowledge, and flat ass fun on the rocks =)