Articles With the Tag . . . friends

Lost Fishing Friends

The lost friendship transforms a river bend — the one with the ancient and hollowed-out sycamore — into an active tombstone. The towering tree with the undercut bank becomes a place to remember shared moments of casting into cool waters, where the ghosts of laughter and fond companionship persists.

Local Knowledge

You know the water level, clarity, the hatches, weather and more. That’s great. But local conditions are different from local knowledge. Here’s what I mean . . .

Smith and the Tree

Right on time, Smith’s signature worn-out ball cap crested the hill on the north side of the gravel pull off. When his full frame came into view, I motioned to the propane grill and smiled with a nod. It was preheated. Resting on a large chunk of limestone, I had the portable grill ready for meat. When Smith approached, I handed my friend a beer without a word. Glass chimed and we nodded again.

This is what I like about Smith: We planned for noon, and he’s so reliable that I knew it was worth lighting the propane at 11:50 . . .

Obsessions

Just after one-o-clock, I glanced up from my notebook and saw the rhythmic taillights of a small USPS Jeep outside my studio window. Its red lamps brightened and dimmed rhythmically through a misting rain and a spring fog which the afternoon couldn’t shake off. The mail carrier stopped at each mailbox, and the lights pulsed, all the way down the long hill of my cul-de-sac.

I typed but a few more words before I remembered — Sawyer’s line should arrive today!

Moments later I jogged down the hill of my driveway with untied boot laces. I pulled up the hood of my sweatshirt just before exiting the carport and aimed for the mailbox with the excitement of a kid at Christmas.

And there it was. Mixed in with a few articles of junk mail and a bank statement, I found a small standard-white envelope which Sawyer had addressed as such: Domenick Swentosky, Esquire (a long-running inside joke that the mailman unlikely found amusing). On the way up the driveway I fingered the circular wraps of monofilament underneath stiff envelope paper . . .

Local Knowledge

Local Knowledge

Turn into the fly shop and strike up a conversation with the dude behind the counter, and he might tell you the Olives are hatching around noon on most days. That’s nice. And if he really has his ear to the ground or his feet in the water, he’ll know that those Olives...

Smith and the Tree

Smith and the Tree

Right on time, Smith’s signature worn-out ball cap crested the hill on the north side of the gravel pull off. When his full frame came into view, I motioned to the propane grill and smiled with a nod. It was preheated. Resting on a large chunk of limestone, I had the...

Obsessions

Obsessions

Just after one-o-clock, I glanced up from my notebook and saw the rhythmic taillights of a small USPS Jeep outside my studio window. Its red lamps brightened and dimmed rhythmically through a misting rain and a spring fog which the afternoon could not shake off. The...

Save the Discovery

Save the Discovery

Burke had been traveling. North, south, east or west I cannot share because I’ve been sworn to secrecy. You see, the best river spots are enhanced by our conviction of their rarity, believing that they are special enough to be protected, even if they aren’t all that...

That’s Not An Olive

That’s Not An Olive

I’m guarded about my fishing partners. I always have been, I suppose, and I think that’s alright. I grew up fishing mostly by myself, and that’s still the way it usually turns out for me. Sure, I love hanging out with fishy friends before and after, but when we hit the stream, I’m usually the guy who takes off and says I’ll see you at lunchtime. But on occasion, all of that changes for a day . . .

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Border Collie and the Thunderstorm

Border Collie and the Thunderstorm

The border collie always sensed incoming weather before I did. Under the perfect contrast of black on white, just beneath mottled pink skin and between the ears, was a group of unknown senses, not just for the weather, but for a number of intangibles I never seemed to recognize. He tilted his head and stared at me with confusion, perhaps wondering why I couldn’t hear, smell or sense the thunderstorm before I could see it . . .

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Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #42 — Work into the Prime Spots

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #42 — Work into the Prime Spots

The trout were on. They started with nymphs, but as soon as the emerging tan caddis popped to the surface, a green summer morning turned into something special.

Steve was the first to switch to dry flies. Around 9:30 a.m. I leapfrogged his position again and stopped to visit for a moment. Steve spoke as I approached.

“Man, these are the days you dream about,” he said while casting.

Standing in the creek, not far off the bank, he glanced over his left shoulder in my direction, judging the length of his fly line against the back casting space I’d left him. And I continued wading closer to my friend in the ankle-deep water.

“You switched to dries?” I used the statement as a question . . .

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Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #35 — How to Fish With Friends

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #35 — How to Fish With Friends

Fishing with a stick and line is a solitary endeavor by nature. It always comes down to the two hands of one angler: one on the rod, and the other in control of the line. Sharing the water with friends is great, but fishing, inherently, is not a team sport. It’s more like pole vaulting than a baseball game. It comes down to individual performance. And at its root, fishing is just a contest between one man and a fish.

. . . But we fish together to share our experiences, to learn from one another, to catch up with old friends and make new ones. We choose to fish together because the bonds formed on a river are like none other, and because flowing water and shared moments can heal friendships and mend grievances . . .

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Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #13 — Fish with Friends

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #13 — Fish with Friends

People are different. We aren’t compatible with everyone else, and I guess we’re not supposed to be. My nature isn’t a great match for some anglers, and that’s obvious as soon as we hit the water. I don’t need to fish with a clone of myself to be happy, but I do need...

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We watched daylight race the river downstream …

We watched daylight race the river downstream …

We added to the memories of a year gone by. A gray winter day with little sun and a lot of wind provided the last page in a final chapter — the last casts of 2016. And we watched daylight race the river downstream.

The best thing about a float is seeing miles of water as if in one frame. It’s like a filmstrip that you can take out and hold in your mind for a while. If you’ve done this long enough, then every rock around every bend carries a memory. The best island channels hold a group of those stories and offer them up as you float by. It’s a photo album: the river is a flowing film of your best and worst times on the water — moment by moment passing by. And if you’re lucky, you might create a new highlight for the reel . . .

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