For my part, I think I learned more on this trip than I have on any other in recent memory. I can say without reservation that I am a better spey caster today than I was a month ago. I am better able to manage my line when it's on the water, and the flies I am fishing today are undeniably better than those I tied last year (better does not necessarily mean that they entice more fish). And isn't that what it's really all about?
Every time I'm on the water I manage to get the job done just a little more handily than I did previously, but more to the point I've learned to recognize and appreciate certain moments when they happen: the sun rising over a favorite run, fresh spikes on old boots, courteous guides rowing their boats behind wading anglers, a friend hooking ten pounds of steelhead on a 75 year old bamboo rod. I've learned that fishing stories aren't always about the fish. More often than not, fishing stories are friend stories, and friend stories are the stories that most matter.
And I'm reminded that I love my friends. I love them when they're hooking up and I'm cursing the gods, but I love them more when they're having a hard day and still they're quick with smiles and a net. I'm fortunate to share the water with the men I call friends; they're the reason I look forward to steelhead fishing the way I do.
All that having been said ... and since a picture is worth a 1000 words (or approximately 207 cliches and hackneyed phrases), here's the remainder of our trip ...
|Photo by Adam Kettering|