Someone recently asked me if I enjoyed fishing. Of course I responded with a yes. After which he replied, “No, do you really like fishing. Not because Gus loves fishing, but because you like to go too.” I peered back into my memory bank and stirred up images of shivering cold in the wind and rain…fishing lines wrapped around my back and hooks stuck into my hair…catching no fish, but plenty of floating sticks…getting gently scolded to stop flicking my wrists…and finally said emphatically back to my interrogator, “Yes, I find GREAT joy in fishing.”
It’s been nearly a year since I cast my fly rods. The Winston’s been sitting idle way too long and I was getting tired of hearing everybody else’s “amazing” fishing stories. So I begged my man to row me down the Yakima and help me reconnect with my casting skills (most people wouldn’t call them casting skills as much as line tangling/branch catching/close-proximity-line-flinging abilities).
We called some friends and loaded up the boats with all kinds of gear. Even as we readied ourselves for the trip we tenuously watched the river flows, knowing full well that the Yakima has been blown out over the last couple of weeks and still may be flowing too high and fast to get much fishing done. I could share all the technical stuff, but growing up the daughter/sister/niece/cousin of engineers I’d rather just tell you that we stopped for an awesome breakfast in Ellensburg first so we wouldn’t be starving one hour into our float.
Midmorningish (which is spot-on exact angler time-telling) we jumped into our boats and followed the mad rush of water down river. Gus set up my fly-rod with some nice flies that look like they’re fuzzy with legs or wings or something (again… I try to avoid technical jargon at all costs). Shortly after my 27th cast, I had a fish on, at which my amazing guide shouted, “FISH ON! FISH ON! SET THE HOOK!” I yanked back on my rod and held on to my reel like I wanted to keep that fish forever. Unfortunately I guess you’re not supposed to do that when you’re reeling in a fish. My rainbow trout got away, but I knew there were more to be had.
We spent a wonderfully sunny afternoon fishing, conversating, eating, drinking, and enjoying the beautiful views of Central Washington and yes, even a couple of fish found their way into our net (thank you Gus). I guess my point in sharing all of this with you is to say that not everybody loves fishing for the same reasons. I know that Gus delights in the ever-changing puzzle of the dynamic river environment and the competitive challenge of outsmarting those wily river denizens. I relish the time spent with people I enjoy (Mike and Christine and Baby Raya were wonderful guests this time). I look forward to pulling over and making a fantastic lunch on the bank of a river. Seeing the eagles, ospreys, deer in the wild and college students rafting and careening down the river all give me cause for smiling/laughing. But most of all, I enjoy the experience of catching fish (and being with Gus).
I hope you can come with us soon.