Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Do You Have Any Water To Drink?

I met Derek Young, an on-line fly fishing friend through Facebook this past year.  Derek is the owner and head guide at Emerging Rivers Guide Services and is the 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year.  This multi-talented guy just plain out knows how to catch fish.  And his photography is equally amazing.

From Derek..."Why did I become a guide?  I've had a lifelong interest and career in coaching and mentoring others - sharing what I know and observing people change and improve in their skills is what I love about being a guide. When that roll cast sits just right, when a client turns to look at me with a fish on and an ever bigger smile - that's why I enjoy being a guide. Sure, it's a dream job, but it's hard work at the same time. But it's 100% worth it."  From  Snoqualmie, WA... and the Yakima River, home to gorgeous rainbows and cutthroats.... I present to you, my guest writer today... Derek Young.



Well, that about settles it.  Queue the list of clichés and hyperbole that can now thump to the ground like a heavy sole of a soaked boot, shuffled so silently back to the truck after a day on the water.  The ever-increasingly reality is now that what really matters are the connections that we make, regardless of how “real” they are.  Sure, we’re all interested in the same things because we have something in common.  More often than not, and probably the reason why you’re reading this and The River Damsel requested it, is hearing another’s perspective on the same – just what do others who chase trout think, and why? 


One of the most frequent questions I get asked these days is “Do you ever get real jerks on your drift boat, guys you just can’t stand to be with all-day?”  Really?  We just started the day and you’re asking me about the worst-case scenario, and not the best?  The answer is yes, and there’s no avoiding it.  As a guide, it’s imperative to be prepared for any situation that comes your way, or at least be able to explain your way out of it. The reasons why are many, the causes astronomical – the barometer, the lack of a hatch, how fatigued the fish are from looking at the millions of the leaves in the water – you get the picture and you’re probably heard or used those explanations yourself.  The answer is, and it doesn’t take an MBA to figure it out – it depends. 
  
It depends on the situation, and what your stake in the matter is.  Earlier this year, a client contacted me about a guided trip – when was the perfect time, what is the perfect place?  After many back and forth discussions, it was settled.  As the day approached, life got in the way.  So, as conditions dictated, and the causes explained, the plan changed.  What was missed that day, that wouldn’t be repeated?  Was there a fish there today that would be gone tomorrow?  Yes, over time we’ve all found our own little secrets and hold some closer than others, nothing unusual about that. 

How willing are you to share what you know, with someone you don’t?  It depends.

When the time came, the question was asked and the table was set – “Do you have any water to drink? 

I stopped using plastic water bottles a while ago, because of several reasons. The most obvious being that clean water is integral to the health of our bodies, and so it also goes for our fisheries.  I am fully aware of the issues and contradictions inherent in driving a vehicle to the river, and of the resources needed to sustain such activities and how they are obtained.  I set the oars aside, opened the cooler, and extended my hand – floating through the water, the silence and the exchange broken by “I should have known you are one of those!”  One of what’s, I wondered, looking around and taking stock of my surroundings– yep, showered today. Nope, the Grateful Dead t-shirt isn’t showing under my vest. Good, my fly is zipped.  Then it hit me.  It was the “No Pebble Mine” sticker on my reusable water container.  “I’m a stockholder in Northern Dynasty” he said, “And I want a return on my investment.”
  
Of course.  We’re participating in an activity that is dependant on cold, clear water and on a fishery that’s managed for the sake of wild fish.  The wild fish exist on this river because of partnerships between stakeholders, and it’s up to us to make good decisions not just for one but for all.  Yes, I am one of “Those.”  It does depend.  All of this coursed through my head as his fly line flew back and forth, the discussions slowly being formed, the words narrowly exploding from my mouth like an aggressive take.  It was quiet on the water for a while, and then it was there.  “We’re out on the water today, enjoying a beautiful day that many people never take the time to slow down enough and experience. The fish have played along, we’ve fooled a few.  There’s lot of good water to come still.  The shuttle driver will move the truck around 5 pm.”  What I was trying to tactfully say is that this experience, conflicted as it is, will never be perfect.  But the very reasons we’re able to do this today is because of compromise.
There were salmon spawning in the river, completing a journey began years ago here in this very place, in the depths of the water we now float over.  As I sit down and write this, you are hearing my perspective at the request of the owner of this page – a place you frequent because you are interested in perspectives, in common experiences, which sometimes occur in the same places but more than likely, many miles apart.  I am a guest, perhaps reaching you for the first time through my words and eyes and in describing miles, and hours, spent on the water. With you, trying to make sense of it all. 

Besides, you need to be paying attention to where we’re going, because you have to row us back up to the put-in.   

Hey, It's the Unaccomplished Angler!!
(Buddies with Derek.  I've heard he knows how to row a boat...)


12 comments:

  1. DOH! your a bigger man than i am Derek, and I mean that literally I'm only 5'7". Nice guest post. I would have put him out of the boat and told him to thumb it!

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  2. Ross, it was a "teachable" moment, to be sure. Hopefully my response, and actions that day, caused a moment of pause and reflective thought - I for sure thought about my answer, not wanting to be divisive but educate and provide a local, real-world example on my home water. A real opportunity.

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  3. Not all "Stock" is monetary. And the return on the investment can take a long time to be realized....but it is so worth it!!!!

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    1. bfly, you're right on. It's made me take a closer look at my (tiny) 401k and other investment vehicles to better understand my impact on the world.

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  4. Nice going Derek. I think you dealt with that as a professional. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for reading - you may enjoy reading my previous posts on www.flyfishtheyakima.com - especially if you're a fan of the Dead.

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  5. Truth be known, richness is in the experience of life and in the people you are fortunate enough to share it with, not in the material or financial tally. I have been there to the alter of greed....I left many behind that still worship it and by comparison with the life Derek has cultivated, they are poor.

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  6. RD
    This is an excellent interpretation of responding to a request of a bad client theme without being abusive of the client--although sometimes I can imagine some guides would give you an ear full about obnoxious clients. Good guides are the ones who go above and beyond the trip to make the outing a pleasure and this guy seems to fall into the category. Great Piece!!
    By the way thought you might want to read some of the reviews on the Redington--all five star

    http://www.cabelas.com/product/Fishing/Fly-Fishing/Fly-Fishing-Rods%7C/pc/104793480/c/104721480/sc/105573780/Redington-CT-Classic-Trout-Fly-Rods/711781.uts?WTz_l=SBC%3BMMcat104793480%3Bcat104721480%3Bcat105573780#BVRRWidgetID

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    1. Bill - The exact reason why I am contemplating a float trip next year in Washington... Glad to present Derek's views here on the blog. And yes, I'm enjoying my Redington!

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    2. Thanks Bill, there are probably as many obnoxious guides as there are clients, but in the end, it's a partnership on the water; an investment in both time and money. I've never had anyone book a trip to have a bad time on purpose!

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  7. Derek -
    I enjoyed your post and wish I had your tact. I live in Utah but was raised in Washington - I want to be on that float trip with Emily!!!

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