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.
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.
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?
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.