I wanted to revisit this story, and give props to my small circle of fishing friends that have been there for me throughout this goofy process. None of them are active members here on NAFFF (despite my regular nagging) nor are they aware that I am doing this… so photos have been purposely manipulated to protect their identity and nicknames assigned. Here they are in order of appearance:
Hard to even think about where I would be without this guy! Talk about your spontaneous piscatorial combustion
… we started fishing together at a very young age, from a family with no anglers previously, took to the sport with great passion, and have fished together ever since. Gnuster is not one for the fly rod – tried it, it didn't take – but he is up for any other kind of fishing, any time of year, any time of day or night. Hard to even calculate how much time we have logged fishing together (for several years even before I started logging trips). Difficult to make out in this shot, but here he is sneaking out onto an island point bar on the Delaware River along the NJ side in search of his true love – Smallmouth Bass. We still heckle him occasionally about picking up the long rod for another go.
We started fishing together in high school and later dove head first into the art of angling. A most skilled fly fishermen and fly tyer, we worked through a lot of hatch conundrums together during sulphur season back east. Spiff was actually the first to land (and name) Earl the Doorman! An experienced traveler, oar man, angler, and active defender of our coldwater resources… Spiff would be an excellent contributor to NAFFF and I will keep bugging him until he joins. Here he is high-sticking a plunge pool on Pocono Creek in PA's "Bermuda Triangle"
Germ and I have been friends and angling buddies for almost 30 years. Germ is a skilled angler and fly tyer in his own right and can be found stalking the mild flows of the Lehigh Valley limestoners year round. I am anxiously waiting for the day he decides to make one of his epic road trips out west so that I can share my new fishing holes in Utah with him. Here he works one of my favorite pools on the upper Pohopoco Creek during "Hendrickson" season back in PA.
My friend, co-worker, and angling buddy for almost 20 years. The long time angler and TU supporter, A-Train is largely responsible for prying me away from my passion for warmwater fly rodding and getting me focused on coldwater species. Also part of the corporate relocation to Utah, we are still fishing together today, although with two active teenagers at home he doesn't get to sneak away as often as he used to. Here he battles a feisty brown trout on the East River in Colorado.
SLIM JIM & BILLY THE KID
Two more colleagues that made the leap from PA to UT and now both retired. These two are my fly fishing reclamation project as both had taken a muli-year departure from the sport, only to be reborn anglers in the cools flows of Utah rivers. Billy stayed here, but Slim Jim bolted back to PA and now can only dream about those 15-inch average sized trout like he experienced during his time in Utah. Here they are plying the waters of Yellowstone Creek on the south slope of the Uintas in Utah during our attempt at the Grand Slam (we all came up short).
One of the most gracious men and entertaining anglers that I know… Tex opened our eyes to "heaven on earth" (3-rivers area of Almont, Colorado) and holds the world record for unintentional swims resulting from his many attempts to wade across the Taylor River! Those that have fished it will know exactly what I am talking about. Here he works over a run for trout gobbling emerging Baetis
on the Gunnison River in Colorado. They broke the mold after Tex was born, and I mean that in every complimentary way possible.
Much like the Gnuster, Stevie is another "I will fish anywhere, year round, any time of day or night" guy. Stevie and I trade fishing intel constantly and seem to feed off one another's energy out on the water. I sometimes worry that I am going to be responsible for hurting his golf game. The "wonder" part comes from his ability to always come up with the catch of the day. Even on days when things are no going his way numbers wise, he still seems to land the biggest fish (sometimes lunker status). Stevie is also responsible for turning me onto winter fly fishing, which has become a real passion of mine. Here he is on the Provo River during one of our "half day" trips back in January.