Tight Lines: Equipment check
special to the Daily
I figured I would try to begin this with an amusing tale. Honestly, it may not be all that funny. The facts are true; however, the other character’s name was changed to protect the innocent. The only person that was hurt in the telling of this story was, well, me.
Many years ago, during the prime of my fishing/snowboarding bumming, my fishing buddy and I decided to go do some small stream fishing at Ute Creek. We needed to escape the crowds at the hot spots to have some fun.
As I was loading gear into his car, I realized I forgot my net. I had told “Little Worm” (his Indian name, or, at least what I believe it would be) that I had forgotten it. He offered to let me use his old one.
This old net was wooden-framed with an elastic loop that had a non-breakaway “French clip” freely running along the loop.
Without a care in the world, we drove off for the water. As we drove out to fish, for whatever reason, we began to argue – just another stupid tiff between friends. Yet, we both knew that once we got to our destination, we would both free ourselves of each other.
When we got out of the car there was thick tension in the air. If we weren’t being catty little girls, we would have had a scuffle and moved on to a good day of fishing. Instead, we let our differences get the best of us and we went our separate ways to fish alone.
I was casting a size-14 humpy into hard-to-reach seams with fast micro currents and straight drops behind boulders, yielding colorful brookies. Small back eddies shielded fish stacked up like tourists on the shuttle bus. These easy-to-fool sprat fish seemed to jump on the hook every couple of casts.
This was just the medicine I needed.
I spotted Little Worm downstream and figured we should hit the fish whistle for a small break. So, I waded downstream and met up with him and he seemed to be in good spirits. All seemed quiet on the western front.
Nope! The argument fires up like a beetle-kill tree struck by lightning. The loud words echoed off the canyon walls, his mind became possessed. His left arm began to throw its hand into his chest over and over again. Seeing this bizarre act, which I had never seen from him before, I became concerned for my friend. I thought maybe he was allergic to bees and was stung. What could I do to help him?
So, I devised a plan: I bent down slowly as to not startle the crazed creature before me. I picked up a stone in each hand from the ground. Then, I chucked the two rocks in the hole he was fishing. It did not seem to help at all. Now, not only was his hand thumping his chest, but now he was jumping up and down in the creek.
At this point, I began leaving the scene, and started to walk through the willows and dead fall. After just a few steps into the bush, I was struck in the back of my head, with a great deal of force dropping me to my knees. My vision went hazy, and I looked back at him thinking, “That punk threw a rock at me.”
What I saw was Little Worm pointing and laughing at me. I shook my head for clarity. By then, he was at my side asking if I was all right. I knew he wouldn’t be acting this way if he had actually hit me with a rock. So he proceeds to tell me that he witnessed his old net get caught on a branch, the elastic stretched to the limit and the handle of the net was catapulted right to the base of my skull.
I try to learn each of life’s lessons as given to me. Here, I learned, when life hits ya (with an old-school net) you better have a sense of humor about it.
I also learned the importance of a breakaway net.
Kevan Evans is a local fly fishing guide and expert tyer. He writes a weekly column on fishing in Summit County.
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