Russ’s schedule is the tightest, so a lot of times he starts the idea. He e-mails us.
“I’m free tomorrow after 4:00. Anyone want to run up the canyon after work? Maybe we can catch a hatch. I’ve got to go fishing. Got to.”
Or, sometimes he’s got bigger news.
“I’m clear for an all-day trip Saturday. Should we hit the Bear? Oneida Narrows in the morning and Black Canyon after lunch?”
Brad fishes the most of the three of us, so he turns the idea into a plan. He suggests which sections we should work on and how to fish them. Maybe he’s got a new place in mind. We set a time, move it around a little to accommodate work and wives. On the day of the trip, we text each other if we’re running late, but we’re not late.
We meet at someone’s house, depending on which direction we’re heading. We pack our stuff into Russ’s SUV. Before he shuts the back there’s a doublecheck.
“Anyone got some extra 5x tippet?”
“Yeah, I got some.”
Russ drives. I have somehow been permanently assigned to ride shotgun. I sometimes ask Brad if he wants to sit up-front. He always says no.
On the way to the stream, we talk loud and laugh a lot. Everyone’s punchy. We stop at a gas station to fuel up and get Doritos and cookies. Then we take off again, talking loud, still punchy. As we approach the stream, suddenly we’re experts on entomology and meteorology and hydrology.
“This cloud cover is perfect for a mayfly hatch.”
“Supposed to get up to 60 later today, and no wind.”
When we get to the stream, Reality is waiting there at the turn-out or parking lot or up the jeep trail, and for better or worse, He fishes with us all day.
We usually keep fishing until it’s nearly dark, then trudge back to the car. It takes longer to break our stuff down than it did to set it up. On the drive home, we’re quieter. We yawn mid-sentence and rub our faces. I always think how nice it’d be to sleep all the way home, but I stay awake and talk. Russ shakes the last shards of chips from the wrapper into his mouth and we eat up the last of the cookies.
If the fishing was good, we re-tell the tales, entering them into our shared memory in case we need them later.
“That one by the bridge slammed it. He was waiting for it.”
“I thought for sure he was gonna get off.”
“What were you using again?”
If the fishing was poor, we console ourselves.
“What a great day, though. Great to get out. We at least caught a few.”