Wednesday, November 28, 2018

You'll Make a Killing

High and Windy

There is a particular scene in the movie, A River Runs Through It, where Norman and Paul convince the old man to head out fly fishing on the Big Blackfoot River. The three men head out to the river where the Rev. Maclean decides to hang back on the bank and watch his sons fish. Paul tells his father that, "you'll make a killing" before him and Norm head to the river. Later, Paul ends up catching the hog johnson during the climax of the film. Afterwards, the three Macleans reminisce about life by telling stories, laughing, and tossing stones into the river. I couldn't help but think of that scene when I convinced my father to tag along with Matt and I on a musky float.

The weather was downright miserable. The temperature hovered at freezing and a heavy downstream wind brought a consistent chill. It was so cold that Big Poppa Pump brought out the freezer suit. I had a good laugh watching my Dad suck in his gut as Matt struggled to buckle up his life vest. On this particular day, I knew it would be about the company and spending time together. The river was flowing high and I had zero hope of any of us catching a ski, let alone seeing one. It had been four years since I started targeting the musky on this river. I've had success everywhere else, but I never successfully landed one here. I've had my chances, and a plethora of encounters, but I could never seal the deal.

This ended up being my second musky trip of 2018 and the raft wouldn't even stay put in the flow/downstream wind. Eventually, the anchor caught in a prime location and Matt fished a soft pocket until he couldn't feel his hands anymore. He offered to let me cast and I implored him to take a few more in order to get a presentation in a certain spot. He handed me the rod anyway...

My first cast ended up in the sweet spot and halfway back on the presentation I saw a flash behind my fly. The small musky missed and on the next strip, smashed my deer hair belly changer. I immediately implored Matt and Big Poppa Pump to get the net as the ski cartwheeled on top of the water. The seconds seemed like minutes as they fumbled getting the net unfolded. Meanwhile, my adrenaline was through the roof as I realized that four years of skunk could end in a single head shake.  Eventually, Matt scooped up my first ski on this river and I honestly couldn't believe it. I sat back in the raft, breathed a huge sigh of relief, and uttered some indiscernible curse words.

We ended up floating the rest of the river to the take out. That scene with Paul, Norm, and the Rev. Maclean stayed in my head for the rest of the day. As we floated, the three of us told stories, talked about life, and made fun of my Dad's rowing. We simply enjoyed the moment. It's not often that the three of us find ourselves in each other's company, let alone on a river that we grew up on. On this particular day, a musky ran through it, making it a day that none of us will ever forget.

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