3 min read

Last call for silver

Last call for silver

Rising early on Sunday morning is much easier when you put down the gin at a reasonable hour the night before.

I had an old friend over last night, so I've failed that test of self-discipline.

Big time.

Still, I'm up and functional, and it's still very early.

I pull on my merino wool base layer, sweaters, and Patagonia puffer and head to the kitchen for espresso.

On my way there, I peek in on my three-year-old son, who is still sleeping, though probably not for long.

I'm gambling with my life if I wake him up, and thereby my wife, but I throw the dice.

I'm successful at patting him on the head without waking him up.

Even though I'm not traveling far, I still like to say goodbye to him before I head out to the river.

I know for a fact he brings me good luck, and I'm going to need it today.

I'm 0 for 10, and I need a fish. Last night, I realized that it may not happen this year.

I've logged 65-75 hours of fishing, but it hasn't been enough. Over the past several weeks, I've run into several people on the river, and I understand that it's been a challenging year for guys swinging flies.

Perhaps I haven't put in the hours.

A real pro once told me it takes him 80-100 hours of swinging to catch one steelhead on this river.

If that's true, how long will it take a mere mortal like me to catch one?

"Theoretically, if we keep doing this, we should get one," a guy in a toque with a pom on top said to me the other day.

I almost got lucky at the beginning of the season and had an aggressive take on the dangle, but I was daydreaming and couldn't finish it.

I had witnesses: two old guys on a raft who screamed from behind me, "We saw it all!"

As I pull into the parking lot, I notice a few other trucks.

One of the other men calls out to me while I'm putting on my waders, "How's your scoreboard?"

"Fuck all," I reply.


"Haven't seen a guy with a fly rod get one."

"Me either."

"The gear guys are getting them."

"That's the line, alright," I reply.

We both look off into the forest and continue gearing up. He lights a dart, and I finish the extra-large coffee that I chased my espresso shot with. My stomach grumbles.

It's been a fun season, but I'm slightly demoralized.

Demoralized is the wrong word, but you know what I mean.

I don't fish this way for the numbers; I do it because I like it, and it feels pure. When I'm on the water, it feels like meditation, and swinging feels professional.

And I'm a professional at heart, and professionals don't let themselves get demoralized. I haven't been at this long either, so I should stop whining and get out there, I say to myself.

But I'm wondering if I'm in the right spot this morning and if my son's luck will come through again.

Did I mention the season is running out?

I can feel that I’m already in my head, way too much in my own head.

I see a good spot, and that's enough for now. There's no one else around.

Today is a perfect day to keep trying and enjoy the warming air; I may not need the Patagonia for much longer.

As winter recedes, so do my chances, but the joy is in the hunt and the fight.

I pull on my boots, tighten my laces, grab my rod, and try to look professional.

The sun is rising over the treeline, and my hands are warm.