Friday Classic | The Pull

On crossing paths with an acquaintance in the course of my work travels a few weeks ago, I met him with the standard Wyoming fall greeting.

“How’s your season coming?” I asked

“Streamer season?” he replied with a grin. “It’s going great thanks. I don’t really hunt much anymore though, if that’s what you meant. Takes up too much fishing time.”

I didn’t think much of our exchange at the time, but it kept creeping into my thoughts throughout the fall. Out in the garage, selecting, sorting and packing my hunting gear for the next predawn departure, I’d take note of my disused fishing gear piled in the corner and think, “maybe I should throw a rod in the truck… just in case”. Following elk tracks beside a mountain creek, I’d find myself crouched in the snow beside a pool, watching for the telltale flashes of feeding fish. Perched high on a ridge, glassing for deer, my binos would wander back, time and again, to focus on the river far below. I had to admit, my fishing had all but dried up in the fall.

Forgoing deer, antelope and elk for trout still seemed entirely off-kilter to me, but my buddy had managed to plant a seed. Over the following weeks it sprouted into the suspicion that maybe I was being a little too single-minded myself. That sprout continued to work away at me until I decided to give it some water. Cold water.

The river is hosting a whole new ballgame since I was there last. The waterline is lower, the clues are fewer and the fish – half dormant in their deep holes – are less forgiving of imperfect placements; placements made all the more difficult by ice in the guides. Frozen and frustrated, I was ready to reclassify my single-mindedness as good old common sense, when my line sprung to life with that old familiar tug.

We each have to follow our own path. With my rod bent and line leaving the reel I couldn’t help but admire the forces pulling my friend along his.

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