‘Boo in the Mist

Posted on January 29, 2016


A Word You Don’t Hear Much Anymore

I have a good friend, Tavish, a beer drinking/fly fishing/photography buddy. He’s one of the people who followed me up the Elwah. Recently his dad, Bill,  gave him an old fly rod that was in turn acquired from Bills’s neighbor’s grandfather years ago. Although Bill fished the rod for years, I think he expected Tavish to hang it on the wall. But over a few whiskies after the Superbowl, we decided to rebuild it so Tavish and his dad could fish together. I’ve never even held a bamboo rod, but that did not diminish my enthusiasm for the project, perhaps rather the latter. I did a little research and then Tavish and his lovely wife Laura came over. We made a story stick of the rod and cut all of the old guides off. Turns out the old guides  won’t shoot the new lines, so we replaced them all anyway. We also static tested their placement, making the story stick moot except to note how far we moved most of the guides. I took the old wraps up to the local rod shop and matched the colors as well as get some little refinishing advice on stripping and refinishing it. Tavish did 100% of the work. It’s a bit disillusioning really, to realize that he can wrap better than me because of my eyes. Some of the fancy wraps I do, I cannot even see any more with my glasses on! The ferrules needed reattaching, and I found a guy on rodbuilding.org who did it for less than the cost of shipping. There is a 3/64″ pin on the ferrules you need to knock out and even David Gonsalves doesn’t have that bit! This fellow dated the rod somewhere around 1930. We left the handle untouched as a tribute to the men who had held it before. It took a few months working alternate Tuesday evenings, but finally we got it finished. In the end, Tavish’s craftsmanship exceeded that of the original rod and it came out really nice as any labor of love should.

They hada family reunion and I tagged along for the delivery. We’d never even cast the rod, leaving that honor to Bill, so we didn’t know what weight line to put on it. We stopped at Cabellas on the way down and bought a 3 wt line and reel which I rigged up in the car accomplished by much swearing.  Turns out it was a 5 wt after all, but once they got it dialed in Tavish and Bill cast up a storm on the lawn.  I think casting a slow rod is very difficult and it would probably take me a summer to readjust my timing. Something that Tavish is apparently up for because he said “I think the Reddington just got retired.”  When Bill said he was honored, and him and Tavish took a moment together, I knew my part was played and walked away. Honor is a word you don’t hear much any more, but was oft discussed as we worked on the rod.

As Bill lives on the Mist river, we were hoping to catch a fish or two, but the water was low and the temperatures are high, triple digits,  and despite it having the biggest caddis collection I’ve ever seen, having reliable local intel, and covering lots of water, we just could not find the fish. We spent a lot of time driving around looking for access. At one point I said “There’s a bridge, let’s take it.” From the bridge we could see the carcass of a summer-run Chinook, on the other side was a dirt road. I told Tavish to take the road, turn out at the first widespot, and we would take the trail from there. A few minutes later we were doing just that with him saying “How do you do that?” I didn’t want to tell explain to him the Fish Path corollary to the Bridge Algorithm and ruin the mystery, he’ll have to work that out for himself.

Poetic Justice will have to wait for the winter rains, when the salmon run like the memories of  our youth through the mist of our recollection. But I hope it doesn’t wait too long, because you never know how many more times you get to wade with those you love, turning casts into memories, and I’ve already missed too many of those days.