photo by; Regina Filliman
For a week or two out of the year Mark is sleeping on my couch or spare bedroom... or thermarest. We travel and fish for almost two weeks straight. Before sun up to well after sundown there is only one focus.... fish. Every year a few places get a return visit but I try to take him to as many different areas as possible... but one will always be a destination, Marks "home" river.
After a year long wait to get back on the Trout, Mark finally arrives in Utah. In less than a few hours of arrival he is off to his beloved Provo, his "home" water... around 4 am. I had to work the next morning, unfortunately wasn't able to accompany him on his return to the MP. I wasn't surprised when I saw the pictures of Mark surrounded by guides with clients and other fishers, I wasn't surprised to hear that the day was a success for him and I wasn't that surprised that a guide, finally, politely, asked him what he was using; as Mark was the only guy catching - this happens every year. I wasn't surprised to hear that the guide and client hooked up right away after tying it on. I was proud of him that day and the humble gesture towards a guide working his keister off trying to get his client into fish. I am sure the guy probably had to work up the courage for a while to ask and I'm certain that Mark didn't make the guide feel like a jack-ass. I have accompanied many of fisherman while on the Provo, never have I seen anyone slay it like he does. Its not that he is doing anything that different nor is it that he is in a secret run, its the way he approaches the fish, with respect.
365 days, minus a few, Mark is focused on one thing, Provo nymphing. A peak into his fly box you might not give a second look. As he puts it "the fish really like them but they don't catch fishermen". A closer look these tiny flies you'd see a methodically thought piece of art. I respect his Taiwanese approach to tying and the delicate flies that wait patiently to be fished. They are unique and graceful and like Mark says "sexy". One year there was an old timer spouting off to at least a dozen guys including guides and clients of what to use and how to use it in a busy run. The guy was spouting his sermon hoping that anyone would listen, the thing is, the guy never caught a thing in 3 hours. Neither did the guides and clients. Every time Mark hooked up they would creep closer and closer until they are in our same run right on top of us. At one given time there were two guides with four clients below us just as many above us and a few other guys that decided to stand right next to us. One time out of every year we "hole hog" one run or at least try and stand ground for a few hours until its unbearable. A few clients hooked up but Mark was slaying it. His fish would run down stream and he would give chase. He have other guys take a picture or two and sometimes video. When only one guy is consistently hooking fish while another guy is preaching in the background, while watching the reacting of other non-catching frustrated guys take pictures of Mark and his fish, its s hilarious... AND its awesome to see what a guy from Taiwan that's living in Alabama (finishing PHD) can do on a high traffic fishery.
Every time I fish I am reminded of my old friend. Mark has helped me on my journeys and travels for a few years now. To me a cheap rod with duct tape holding on a few guides is perfectly normal for the avid fisherman and I had always thought that everyone's reels were full of sand and bent out of shape too... and hipper's were still cool. I have found most of that to be, well, not so true. Mark isn't about the latest and greatest but about quality... of life. As he puts it "if it makes things easier then it makes it funner". So every year Mark bust out a rod or two that he has built and every year he somehow leaves it at my house, "forgetting" to take it back home with him... And every year he tells me that the rods wouldn't be happy couped up in the closest in Alabama, they need to be catching Trout, its where they belong, its what they were meant to do. If Mark isn't sending me cameras to take photos or rods to use or a reel to borrow, he sending me encouragement to keep on my quest for fish. He has done this for a few others as well. Possessions, objects and material things don't matter much to Mark. Its aways cool to meet one of the few genuine characters who's purpose is to live happy and encourage others to do so as well by setting an example. I like the challenge of trying to repay the favor with the best fishing of his life. Its not as easy as it seems but somehow with the help of friends we all make it happen. The rest of the upcoming week is coming soon.
Here are the pictures of "Football Creek".... Mark, Ralphy, Regina and me....
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
photo by; Regina Filliman