The Troutlover

It’s been a pretty eventful few months for me, so I’ve not posted anything here for awhile. New job, trip to Texas and Belize with the family, holidays, parties, you know, all the trials and tribulations of life. The site cracked 5000 views without during my silence. Might be a lesson in that?

I’ve had this idea kicking around in my head for a bit, so I guess I should take some time to write it out. And no, its not another story where I fall down and hurt myself in new and comical ways. This time I’m going to make fun of a friend just for a change of pace. Because all the action takes place during fishing trips, there is a lot more swearing than usual as fishing trips for me are high swear rate operations. Like driving. Or golf.

I don’t really have any set criteria for fishing buddies, but they do mostly tend to fall within the same general categories, usually having several if not all of the following characteristics:

  1. They are much better fishermen than me. Usually ridiculously so. In fact, it is typically hard for me to figure out if I should fish behind them and catch nothing because they are fish vacuum cleaners or fish in front of them so when they come behind me I can see all the fish I miss.
  2. They have great, if sometimes unusual, senses of humor
  3. They find it funny when I forget something, which is pretty much every time
  4. They LOVE unintentional comedy. Because at the end of the day, unintentional comedy is my jam.

I have several guys in mind in the above list, and my original plan was to do one little story on each of them. But the more I thought about it, I have so many stories for one of these guys that I decided that I would single him out for special abuse. That and the fact he turned down my yearly trip this summer because he is going Steelhead fishing instead, so I’m a bit pissed off at him (in his defense, he did invite me along). Which seemed a perfect excuse to make fun of someone other than myself for a change.

To protect his identity, lets call him Jared-or troutlover for those of you on Fly Fish Calgary (FFC)-because that is his name. I’m not sure exactly how we met. I’m sure it was on FFC, which my wife calls “On Line Dating for Fishermen.” but I honestly cannot remember the details. He is quite a bit younger and better looking than me (just ask him, or my wife) and a much better fisherman. We live very near each other and before his kids started totally getting in the way, we fished together quite a bit. At first, he would show me all his places and as I slowly started getting better, I would return the favor. He was the first one to show me how high, dirty water doesn’t necessarily mean no fishing. After a particularly violent thunderstorm he called me and said “The river is a raging torrent of death right now, should be a blast! Lets go.” Lots of big browns wish we had stayed at home.

During runoff one year I called him one afternoon to see if he could come out and play, but he couldn’t make it. The following conversation ensued:

Me: “It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been out. You?”

“Went out yesterday, we did really well.”

“Fishing with (name redacted)?”

“Yeah, so I can’t tell you where, but if I could tell you where I’d say its right across the river  from where we park our bikes when we fish at night.” (Jared and I would ride our bikes to fish along the river near our house periodically).

“So you mean the run I showed you a few weeks ago?”

“That’s the one.”

“So let me get this straight, (name redacted) says you can’t tell me about the runs I fucking showed you?”

“Correct”

“(Name redacted) is an asshole. But thanks!”

Actually, name redacted isn’t an asshole, he’s another great guy and a crazy good fisherman. But about his spots? He’s from Idaho so he’s a bit of an asshole.

As I’ve stated above, Jared can outfish me a bit. I didn’t notice at first, because everyone outfished me. However, I like to think I got better quickly both because I learned from my buddies and I went literally  all the time. No matter how much better I got, I never seemed to catch up to him. I think he was sandbagging me quite honestly. One day in particular we were fishing a favorite bank and I’m getting smoked. Like 10 to 1 smoked. Now Jared is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. I on the other hand can go full jerk when things are not going my way. So I needed some way to get back, and catching more fish than him didn’t seem a likely path. I remembered that he has literally no sense of length. If he tells you “there is a run 100 meters up river” that could mean anywhere from 3 paces to 4 or 5 miles. Really no way to know, I’ve never figured out a pattern. So when he brings in the next big rainbow, he says “what do you think? About 20?” I’m thinking, more like 22″ ya shithead, but say “I don’t know man, maybe 18?” “Huh, thought it looked bigger.” This goes on for the next hour or so, he catches huge fish after huge fish, I subtract 2 to 4″ off his estimated length, and add a couple to the one or two little fish I catch. While I’m still getting massively outfished, I must admit to feeling a bit better by ruining his day a bit. What are friends for? A couple of days later we are talking to another friend and Jared says something to the effect “Rick and I slayed them the other day, but I guess I overestimate the size of my fish.” “You mean you slayed them, and I was just messing with you by subtracting a couple inches off every fish. If anything you were underestimating.”  “Oh man, thank God. I thought I was going to have to start bringing a tape measure!”

Jared has made several trips with me to my favorite little BC river. In fact, the two of us “discovered” it just looking at mapbooks and google earth. After talking to friends and fly shop owners (“never heard of it”), finally one friend opens up slightly to give us enough information to make us want to give it a shot. Our first trip was with guy who bought the trip off of us as a fundraiser  for a conservation group (and I think I might do a full post on shit that’s happened during fundraiser trips). We were staying in my condo in Panorama and the plan was to fish 3 days, 2 at rivers we knew and one full scouting trip to this river we’d never actually seen. The river is FAR in the backcountry, and our directions as it turned out were sketchy at best. While we had never been there, we expected big things and were giddy with excitement when we hit this prime looking section of river (which as it turned out was several miles from where we thought we were). Two hours later its all “there are no fish in this stupid river.” I’m starting to panic a bit, because I was feeling bad about bringing this guy from Edmonton (if you are reading this, hey Tim!) on a trip he donated money for just to fish a river barren of fish. Jared is a bit ahead of me around this corner, and I was walking up to see what he wanted to do next. I find him leaning back dejectedly into a high bank next to this tree.

“What’s up?” He holds his rod out, and it is broken in the second joint of his 4 piece rod. He had tripped going around the tree and broke it off trying to regain his balance, which was ironic since it’s usually me who falls and breaks things. “Ah man, too bad, but I know you have a spare in the truck, just go get it. Or better yet, let’s just leave and see if we can find a better section.” “Dude, it’s not that. Look.” He point to the river, and it was like the hallelujah chorus started up. Pretty much every cutthroat trout in North America was in the run happily chowing down on these huge green drakes. I look at my giant foam whatever and think of taking it off and switching to a drake, but think “the hell with it.” But just before I cast Jared borrows my hemostats and starts working on the rod. I cast, and hook a big fat cutty about 1 foot into my drift. I hand Jared the net (my brain had turned off for a second) and ask him to net the fish.

A bit of an aside is required here. Know how I keep harping on how great a fisherman he is? Well, as good as he is at that, he SUCKS at netting. Like he’s the Mr. Bean of fish netting. I have said in the past that if he had a net and a barrel of fish and he needed those fish to survive, he would starve to death.  It’s actually pretty funny usually. Wasn’t so funny this time when he’s bonking my poor fish about with the net “Damn it Jared, just hold the net still, I’ll guide the fish in.” “Ok.” 4 fish bonks later, he reached down to grab my 5x tippet to guide the fish in. Snap goes the tippet, away swims the fish with my fly. I look at him with disgust, give him my best 15 yr old girl eye roll and say”Fucking seriously?””Sorry man, wasn’t thinking. You know I can’t net a fish.” In the meantime, he had figured out a way to jam his rod back together, so makes a cast, hooks a fish, and the rod falls apart. So he lands the fish with the top half of the rod by hand (which was honestly pretty impressive and really high on the unintentional comedy scale). Once that is done, I walk around the corner to find Tim, see him and yell “drakes!” Tim says , “yeah, I’m on it!” I come back to Jared who is trying to put the rod together again but has to give up. “Give me your keys, I have to go get my stupid spare rod. But let me show you something. Look up by that big rock.” I watch and this fish comes up…

Ever seen the movie “Star Trek: Wrath of Khan?” You know the part where the Enterprise comes up beneath Kahn’s ship to take it out? This fish was like the Enterprise. Just a breathtaking fish. “Rick, listen to me. That fish is mine. Do not catch him.” I look at Jared, look at the Enterprise, back at Jared and hand him my rod. “Buddy, there is no chance if you leave I won’t accidentally catch that fish.”  He got him on the first cast (and it was a truly big cutt), I netted it without incident, and Jared left to go get his spare rod. Tim and I have a fantastic 1/2 hour or so, Jared comes back and gets a few and it all shuts down and the river goes back to a barren wasteland. That could be the only day I’ve ever out-caught him!

I was going to end on that, but one more quick one:

We are fishing for bull trout in BC. Somehow I break my rod (shocker!) and I’m using Jared’s after he caught a big bull.  After I don’t know how many casts I finally hook a big fish. I keep him in the pool, but it breaks out into a really fast section. My line gets caught on a rock out in the middle of the river as the fish screams downstream. Jared goes out and unhooks the line, like full on River Runs Through It stuff. We chase downstream and Jared is trying to land the fish (without a net this time, and the fish is way too big for the net anyway) sort of trapped against a rock in pretty heavy flow. “But the damn boots to it Rick” “I’m giving it all  I can buddy”. He gets his hands around the tail, but the fish bolts again, back down another rapids section. Line is screaming off the reel and I’m not sure I’m up for another chase (this had been going on for pushing 10 minutes now) when Jared walks up to me, takes his rod from my hands, grabs the line, pulls back and breaks off the fish. And hands the rod back to me. Now, I was about to do that myself, but opportunities like this don’t come up often. “Dude, what the fuck did you just do? That’s the biggest bull trout I’ve ever hooked.” Jared looks absolutely panic stricken and says “I don’t know what came over me, I became my father for a second there. But look.” I look down and his waders are ripped and you can see blood from where he had fallen doing the river runs through it thing. “Holy shit man, sorry about that. But you know I’m never going to let you live this down.” “Yeah, I know.” 7 yrs later, I just memorialized it. At least for the 15 or 20 of you still reading.

There are no telling how many stories I could dredge up of us taking vans up way too steep roads, fishing the bow in every season, discovering new runs and trying to keep the to ourselves.  All the stuff you do with your fishing friends. As I said above, we don’t get to go out as much any more. I haven’t been fishing as much and he has 3 little boys and a steelhead habit. But we will again, and when we do it will be like it always is. Fun every time. See ya soon buddy!

Enjoy the pictures, and please have a look at the video. Shot in like 2009 by a guide in BC. One of my favorite days ever with Jared, my buddy Rob and myself.

And sorry I got too long again. I’m trying to work on that!

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Jared and Chris (stories to follow) in the Perfect Cutty Run, 2012 maybe?487596_10151179626933880_962112373_n.jpg

Same trip, with bad pajama pants. That’s my son Wyatt in the white hoodie. His only multi day trip ever. 10399803_139408083879_2537488_n.jpg

In broke rod run10399803_139408053879_3525920_n.jpg

Fishing a super tiny creek. Actually, one of the highlights of that trip

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Hooked up in broke rod run

And a better shot of pajama pants from my friend Chris.

With all the fish I’ve watched him catch, I have surprisingly few pictures. Another one from Chris.

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