Saturday, May 23, 2020


For all intents and purposes, I was hungover on the morning of day three, completely exhausted from the dehydrated, adrenaline filled, all out fishing of day two. I sat in the raft for some time listening to the morning chorus, missing out on what I soon realized was a nice streamer window. My body and mind slowly adjusted to the amount of water I consumed and I summoned the energy to start moving. 

This was the day I started to mellow out a bit. I no longer felt like I had to cover every inch of water and instead, became part of the ebb and flow of the river. I settled into a daily routine that involved copious shade filled breaks, swinging sessions, and a lot of water to prevent dehydration in the sun. 

A few days prior, I planned a rendezvous with my sister for my first resupply. Would she be there at our scheduled time? Would I make it there? Did my Dad tell her that I needed shoes? Would work mark the end of the excursion? These were the thoughts on my mind as I pulled up the anchor and began drifting further downriver...

With my late start to the day, I ended up covering too much water too soon. I blame it on floating and streamer fishing. There was a lot of action and several solid fish that were lost or unhooked with the raft blowing downriver. I realized my folly, slowed down, and anchored up to regroup and take my time. I ended up recharging my phone and Go Pro, drying my sleeping bag, and drinking half a gallon of water. While catching some sun, I watched a large doe meander out of the woods and cross the river in the distance.

I eventually made it to the rendezvous and still had almost an hour to spare. I found my sister not only with a resupply, but with a steaming hot meal prepped for me to eat. A bowl of chopped chicken, pickled onions, freshly diced greens, chopped tomatoes, and warm tortillas. It was an amazing riverside brunch. She also had SHOES, a spork, and a garbage bag. Completely rejuvenated, I gave my thanks and said my goodbye before shoving off. 

Despite not being attuned to the outside world for three days, I decided to turn off airplane mode on my phone. I knew I had a small window of service so I made contact. The first thing I read was an email from a student about current events. At the time, I had no idea who George Floyd was, or what happened, but from the tone of the email, I could feel the student's angst, fear, and courage to act. The student didn't have to provide the details of his death or what was happening as a result, they skillfully connected what was happening to the historical past, and present, in a way that most Americans are ignorant of. This included the failures of the Reconstruction Era, the Lost Cause, the Civil Rights Movement, Charlottesville, and a myriad of other issues that impact minorities in America.

As I sat anchored in the middle of the river with a chorus of toads and zero humans around, I felt a strong pull back to the real world. A lot seemed to be happening and I wanted to be there for my students even though the school year was over. I carefully crafted a long response to calm, connect, and inspire. I hit send and listened to the river. It would be a couple more days before I could load a webpage and find out what was happening. In my mind, was a constant loop of thoughts including my awareness of the privilege to be doing what I was doing, while so many were struggling in 2020. 

My mood at the time led to the rigging of my Loop Opti NXT 5110-4 trout spey rod. I needed to swing a few runs, think, and connect back to the river. I worked my way down a long run and wasn't jarred out of my thought processes until I connected with two solid brown trout in a nice tailout. Both moved off boulders in gut at the end of a long run. No doubt, they were positioned in a funnel that brought the food to them.  

As I ventured further downriver, I ran into other anglers for the first time and gave them a wide berth and the entirety of their runs to explore. I settled in at a deep pool to cook some dinner and await the late evening sulphurs. While waiting, I periodically positioned and casted to some rising fish. This included a brown that bent out a hook and a few other average trout. Two young anglers were with me, ideally positioned where I wished I was. It didn't matter and I enjoyed another magic hour of great success, wild trout, and a screaming reel. 

With rain in the nightly forecast and storms coming over the next few days, I set up a rainfly on the raft and crawled into my bag to sleep the night away.


A very solid wild brook trout obscured by a water mark...

Another wild brookie...

Shade and foam lines.

My sister is the best.

Swing it like you mean it.


Swing and chill...

I'll take a swinging session over every form of fly fishing except a hatch and rising trout. 



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