I meet all sorts of anglers on this gig. It’s part of the fun, meeting new people, finding a vibe with them, sharing a river, and enjoying each others company.
Over the years I have had the great pleasure of fishing with regular clients and watch them develop into amazing anglers and really get to know them as people.
Like the adorable nerdy IT couple that have been coming for the past 4 years with me to sling for trout. They’ve developed into accurate, tactical, and technical anglers and are two of the most efficient and groovy anglers I get to guide. They will tell you that it’s because they’ve been fishing with me all this time as the reason for thier abilities. And that’s partially true, but they have turned into better anglers than I was at thier stage. They fish all over now, hitting rivers in multiple states and now on to new countries. They wish they could just pack ke up and take them along with them everywhere they go which I find as the ultimate compliment. They need to seek out the Tamarack equivalent on whichever river they are on and learn and develop those relationships with rivers, guides, fish, and the places they call home.
I meet new people too. Although it happens less as my days fill up with clients that have become regulars over the years. Sometimes you meet individual who are no where near the same level of expertise when it comes to angling; but their excitement, awe, and reverance for the wild animals we chase with fly and rod rival my own. Like the cannabis farmer who has summer days of guiding himself on his mind. The amazement at the ferociousness and speed of a westslope cutthroat trout to a skwalla dry, literally taking his breath away. The complete and utter respect and awe for the trout when dangling and releasing it. I could feel it from net length away. That moments of watching how he reacted, treated, and handled his fish made me wish I had that respect when I first started out. If he ever guides hes got the right mindset for it. Skills come with practice but it’s hard to teach and learn that kind of admiration for trout.
Or two of my best friends in the world. Fishing with them is always a treat. While one has become very experienced and talented and catches more fish than me these days, his wife and other fishing partner besides me, is one of the most determined and focused anglers I’ve come across. Shes also stubborn as all hell when she meets a worth adversary.
I’ve watched as shes stood in the same spot for 40 minutes working the same large, rising trout just within casting reach across three currents with a big ass reach cast. The fish being so damn persnickety, that it refused every single perfect cast and drift she landed in its lane. To watch this trout defeat her and her finally bow out with respect and exhaustion from the encounter will stick with me to this day. One day soon she will rival all out abilities in our fishing peoples circle. It’s now the patient wait as you out the time in and being able to be a part of that and help her along the way as a guide, friend, and mentor is something I look forward to every time we fish.
Her husband, my best friend and fishing partner, fights fish like a fucking champion. His ability to feel a fish, counter, anticipate, and outsmart wild trout is something to see. He rarely misses fish these days and I can always depend on him to help me snap a few great photos.
His whole attitude towards fish has changed since we first started fishing together. He was intimidated, quiet, focused, and lost his fair share of trout on the early days. Now when he hooks fish, he is still focused, but fish are intimidated, I have seen them bow out against him. He is no longer quiet, as the fish thrashes, jumps, and or runs, he usually has some quip like “Look at this fish!” as it tries to lead the dance, but it is only the partner for this number, following the lead of the experienced angler. Until it enter my net. He still has the same exuberance and delight with each fish no matter the size just like the first time I fished with him. He chuckles this little kid chuckle when the trout eat and fight that causes that boisterous laugh I am known for on the river. It’s always a good time.
This gig is about people. As I keep doing it and am adding more I’m excited for the people and anglers I get to meet. There is nothing quite like sharing a river and some trout with people. I aim to do a lot of it over the years. Good thing I dig it.