Being single, I can pretty much fish when, where and for how long I want. If I want to fish, I don’t have to run it by someone else or check the calendar to see if any unwanted relative are planning a visit- I just go fishing. However, everyone I fish with has a family.
When my friends want to go fishing we have to start the process WAY in advance and when the trip is proposed, its success rate is not very high. None of my married friends get to fish nearly as much as they would like, so when they do go, they soak up every second of it.
This is where the annual guys’ trip comes in. Every year in November, a group of friends head down to the Klamath River and spend four days fly fishing for steelhead. We get up, cook breakfast, and then head to the river before the sun comes up. There are a lot of sections on this river so we usually split it up. A boat or two will get a stench one day then the next day everybody changes fishing partners and fishes another section. One of the days is dedicated to a group float.
This is quite the scene… and my apologies to you if you have seen it. The best holes are well known by everybody, so there is quite a bit of strategy to fishing this day. Some opt to fly down the river and try and hit all the holes briefly before the next boat. Others wait till everybody has gone down and fish a select number very thoroughly and others wait till someone is having luck then low hole them. Ryan, I’m looking at you. By the time we are pulling into the take out, the sun is setting and the fishing part of the day is over. The second part of the day and arguably just as enjoyable, is recounting the days fishing. We cook; read, grill, dinner, and then set up around a campfire and take turns.
This usually the way it goes: the number of fish is tallied, the size of fish is tallied (big fish usually is required to take an extra shot), we all silently calculate what the real number is, and then comes the fun stuff: the back stories! These are the things that stick with me the most. The adventure of rowing a rapid at different water level, when guys that have very strong personalities get paired together, when someone who usually doesn’t catch many fish has the day of their life.
By the end of the night we have laughed ourselves sore, then head off to our tents knowing that in a few hours, we get to live the adventure all over again. This is needed for us. We need time to get in the woods, sit by a fire, camp out under the stars, and hang out with others that have the same passions as us. This gives us the chance to grow as men and it reminds us that we are not fully tame; there is a wildness just below the surface.