Sunday, August 24, 2008

Marks Annual Trip - South Fork of the Snake

As I was looking at information of where to take Mark. Submersed in, maps , notes, web, stream flows, etc, when the call came in. Grizz is heading north to the South Fork of the Snake, the boat is open. I did what any right minded fish junkie would do, I said {profanity} yes!! I quickly called spicy, filled him in on the scoop... it was set. Four dudes, one dog, two boats and three days of hopper fishing!

Right out of the gate things were looking great. The weather is perfect, hoppers are abundant and the flows are stable. Grizz rowed Mark and put him into plenty of fish. Mark was rigged with a Grumpy Frumpy and Rainy's Grand Hopper and hitting every likely spot with success. It was awesome to see the nymphing maniac slamming fish on top. Even from a distance Nick and I could hear "Eat it" "Eat it" "Eat it" followed by laughter and a bentI was busy searching in rod. It seemed Grizz was having as much fun as Mark even though he was at the rowers seat.

A few riffle stops along the way were in order. Here Mark can nymph away and more importantly, give me a hands-on clinic of how to swing soft hackles effectively. It was very cool to observe. More often than not the hooked fish were flying around in mid air. Even though there are many fish aren't landed the style is awesome. I was amazed watching Mark performing two-handed/spey casts. With a flick of the rod a brilliant snap-t, snake roll, any cast, was sending flies as far as you could ever want - all with a three weight line. It was at that point in time I decided that I am going to learn how to spey cast.... and fish soft hackles. White fish really didn't stand a chance to Marks assault. His green caddis worm slapped the toughest whiteys in the face and trout seemed to eat them too. The e sign about the rainbow issue its a no-brain-er and their instinct is to help out and do their part for the fish. Most, I am guilty also, read the sign and that's about it. But to Mark there is no other choice but to kill one species so that another can survive..... I often think about this lesson and reflect on it.... and how the entire trip Mark's rod was in his hand, form 4am - 10pm, he wouldn't even set it down to eat.

At camp we unloaded the boats, grabbed the rods and headed to the water. I was armed with a camera while Mark and Nick pounded the water. Nick was way down stream when I heard the whistle.... he was tight. I ran down to try and get a shot, just as I got there the fish shook the hook on the landing. I started walking back when Mark went tight. I ran up to get the shot thinking, for some odd reason, I better hurry. I was sprinting on top of a log jam while looking in Marks direction when his line went slack. We both laughed and then I tripped and fell. Falling about two feet to my hands and knees on sticks and more sticks. After the initial shock of falling wore off I felt like I scraped my leg. Looking down my pants weren't torn but things felt a bit weird. I lifted my pant leg to see a puncture hole. There wasn't any blood, yet, just white and red meat. I hobbled back to camp in shock. Everyone was on top of things, we all grabbed the first aid kits and assessed the situation. To our surprise all three of our first-aid kits lacked, well, about everything. Someone handed me some cleaning towelettes. I didn't know what to do to properly clean it, so I stuck the towelettes on my finger and shoved it inside my leg. It felt weird and I thought that I might pass out but somehow managed to clean it out, well, as best as possible. Washing it with water and applying some neosporin type schemer we taped it up and hope it was clean enough. I was annoyed at myself, OK, mad. I can't believe that I am hurt on day one of a three day trip. Although fishing from the boat is good, the stops on the riffles and braided sections is what I enjoy most. Someone brought a pair of waders, I was in luck... but after some discussion we all agreed that it might be best if the wound wasn't stuck in a moldy pair of waders with who knows what growing inside. Oh well.... Have to make the best of it. I am still able to fish and I didn't hit anything vital.

The next few days Mark was asking about the SF issues regarding Rainbows and about the information he saw at the put-in -->There is no limit on the bows and they threaten the survival of the Cutthroats, this place is one of the last strong holds of these precious fish. With that Mark was determined to help in the only way he knew how... kill and eat every Rainbow. So for the next few days at any given time you could hear "kill them all" being shouted. One particular time Mark was landing a fish, I yelled over "we can't eat them all", Mark heard something different. At that moment a guide and client were floating by when Mark yelled back while holding a feisty bow above his head "yeah, kill em' all!" and then spiked the fish on the rocks as if he scored a touch down. The face of the guide and client was priceless. We all laughed uncontrollable for quite sometime. Mark has an Alabama/Taiwanese way of killing his fish (that we eat) and I enjoyed watching the clinic. After the slaughter Mark twisted some grass to string up the enemy and carried the back to the boat. I tried my best to capture the moment but there is far more to the picture than I could ever hope to catch. You see, when guys like Mark read the sign about the rainbow issue its a no-brain-er and their instinct is to help out and do their part for the fish. Most, I am guilty also, read the sign and that's about it. But to Mark there is no other choice but to kill one species so that another can survive..... I often think about this lesson and reflect on it.

Yep, that's military chopper, it seems the Vise Pres was fishing as well.


mike doughty said...

great story bryan. when i was on the s.f. a couple months ago the military copters were out as well. my buddy up there says the the v.p. is up there pretty often. hey at least he can't shoot anybody fishing.


Thanks Brother!

Your writing just getting better and better... I am humbled in the beauty of SF, what a great nature sanctuary! The perfect flow, awesome wildlife and most important, you, Nick, Grizz. This is the BEST fishing trip I ever got. I appreciate all the wonderful offers! Next year we should buy you a better boot... western cowboy style... to protect your leg. Thanks again! Brother! Great memories!

BG said...

Funny Mike

I am stoked you had a great time. It seems that each visit it gets better and better. Now how am I going to top this years adventure....

I need shin guards for next time I guess.. and while I'm at it, a helmet too.

My couch is always open