** This post is from contributing author, Pat Burke. **
One of the greatest facets of fly fishing is the traditions that develop between fishing companions. Many people fish the same stretch of water every year for the first day of trout season. Other fisherman gather every year to fish the green drake hatch. The traditions that develop over the years between fisherman is one of the things that make this sport great.
We too have developed our own ways to celebrate special moments. Most of these are traditions. Others are unspoken rules that we follow faithfully.
Break out the flask when a 20 inch fish is caught
No matter what river you fish, a 20 inch trout is a damn good fish. After taking a picture of the fish and releasing it to swim away, hitting the flask completes the celebratory moment.
Always bring beer and a grill on float trips
Float trips are some of the most special outings. In our area they do not happen nearly as frequently as wade trips. They are a very enjoyable way to see long stretches of your favorite stream. They also provide the unique opportunity to bring more gear with you—including a small portable grill and a cooler for beer. We’ve had some great meals on the water, from a rack of ribs to one of Dom’s specialties’ that he coins “Jeff’s Chicken”. As for the beer, it has to be a good strong craft brew. Most of the time it’s an IPA.
When your buddy falls, in laugh and snap a photo of his sorry ass
Don’t pass this opportunity up. At first you may feel inclined to check on your buddy to make sure he is okay. Do NOT do this. Break out your camera and take numerous pictures. If possible, try to capture a couple different angles!
I tried to control my enjoyment last time Domenick fell in by checking to make sure he was alright. Because of my lack of action pulling out the camera, I missed getting a picture of the single greatest fall in I’ve ever seen. This is now referred to as the flaming grill fall in. This is a story for another time but just picture Domenick falling in while holding his beer above his head with one hand and a flaming grill with the other!
Always post and re-post failed pictures
Catching a big fish is the hard part. Getting a good picture should be a piece of cake. You are holding a great fish and you are excited. That excitement should carry over and make a great picture. If you manage to botch one of these moments it is your buddy’s responsibility to make sure you remember it by posting the embarrassing picture on the web. This picture should then be re-posted numerous times over a long period of time. Just when your buddy thinks you forgot about it, post it again! Never let your buddy forget.
Name all trout over two feet
This is the best tradition of all. Any trout that has survived eagles, herons, and the worm dunkers deserves a name.
Our good buddy Matt with Beefcake