Monday, November 13, 2023

Honoring a Friend

September 6, 2023
In July I lost a fishing buddy; his family tasked me with handling his fly fishing estate.  As compensation I could keep anything in his collection I wanted.  There were a few I items I wanted, such as his Helios ZG 9ft 4wt or his Sage TCX 6wt, but after Roy said he wanted the 4 and I knew a friend had lost his TCX in a boating incident, I decide those items should go to another home.  The last time I fished with Steve, we fished a local mountain and he brought his Superfine 150 Anniversary 7ft 4wt so I decided this would be the rod I'd keep.  An added bonus is the rod would most likely be used more than the other two options as small local mountain trout streams are within an hour or so from my house.
I wanted to honor my friend so I headed up the mountain to fish his rod and hand tied flies.  I debated where in the mountain I wanted to fish.  There was a section Justin likes to fish that I've never tried.  Generally I like to head further up.  After parking at the lot I noticed a rather dodgy character in his car so I decided to fish my usual jaunts and headed further up the mountain.  Mist and light rain filled the air but after I reached a certain altitude it was sunny and clear. 
When I reached the parking lot there was broken glass in my spot.  Not an encouraging sign.  California has become such a shithole you can't go anywhere without the threat of your vehicle being broken into.   People have told me that they keep their doors open, literally open, wide open, just to encourage would be thieves to not break their windows.  Of course car is left empty of anything worth stealing.  This strategy has one flaw, it makes it easier to actually steal the car not just the contents found within.  Personally I just don't leave anything within sight or leave anything that may appear valuable in the car.  Fishing alone and having all day to fish I began fishing immediately opting not to hike in as I usually do.  Armed with a small stimualtor I began probing the water but to no avail.  I then switched to a larger one so I could see it better but after a few casts it was failing to stay buoyant I switched again to a foam ant.   Again switching because I was having a hard time seeing it.  This time I changed to something I knew I could see, a size 10 Royal Wulff. 
Once I switched the fishing picked up.  Water was still fast but at the same time very skinny.  You had to pick your spots and most pools were gone.  I caught more fish than I could count.  Many of the fish actually took when the fly submerged.  The most memorable fish was the last.  Ended up being a tank of a fish, around 13 inches.  While I've caught larger fish in this watershed in the past, this is the largest I've caught in over a decade. 
After catching that fish, it was time for a stream side lunch.  Since Steve was Japanese that a pork katsu sando was appropriate for the occasion.  Once finished I thought I did enough and decided to head back home.  I think Steve would have been proud.
Daturi Wrightii. "Jimson Weed." Causes Hallucinations.

Romnea Coulteri.  "Fried Egg Poppy" or "Matilija Poppy."

Aguilegia Formosa. "Crimson Columbine" or "Western Columbine."

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