Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Just Two Casts Away
Excerpts from an Alaskan journal:
TSA Agent, with a straight face, as I entered the security queue with my travel rod case: "You don't have any guns in there, do you?" Really?
The biggest problem with carrying fly fishing gear on a plane is that you have to listen to everyone else's fish stories.
I'm toast, though the sun has not yet set. I've gained four hours, traveling west, and I feel the weight of them. Too long spent in seat 38B.
Far-flung trips seem unreal until I'm in the middle of them. Before departure there's always the questions. Will it really come off? What will it be like? Will I return from it? (Yes, I ask myself that sometimes.) Trips are a slice out of time, completely disconnected from the natural flow of my life, but they always teach me something new about it. Each trip has a lesson, though it often takes a while for it to be recognized.
First fish in Alaska, a robust rainbow, every bit of four inches long. Glad I came all this way. But hey, he jumped!
Black spruce, cottonwood, juniper, birch, scrub willow, alder. Fireweed, caribou moss, crowberries, salmonberries, wild blueberries. The colors of the tundra are scrumptious.
"They taste so good, it's like an angel pissed on your tongue." - Pete, on Tia's peanut butter concoctions
"Too early old, too late wise." - Grandpa Tex, via Pete, on nothing in particular
It's amazing to fish a stream full of brilliant red spawning sockeye, drifting beads through the schools, searching for the big rainbows and char that linger among them and gobble the roe. But the occasional salmon will go cannibal, take the egg, and they're a load to bring home; a guilty pleasure.
Thank God for Gore-Tex.
"You're just two casts away from the biggest trout of your life." - Bradley's mantra
Bent the 8wt all day long with silvers fresh from the salt, still fully loaded for their hundred-mile trek up the river, still bejeweled with sea lice along their broad chrome flanks. Charles said I caught fifty. He might have been right. I stopped counting at three.
Flannel sheets on an Alaskan morning. It's hard to get out of bed.
7wts with sinks, 6wts with floats. Streamers from all angles. My kind of fishing.
Our last day of fishing, done. The rain picked up as we arrived back at the lodge, washing the week clean. I'm ready to head home tomorrow. Hope the weather lets us out.
It did, with some reluctance.