by Uncle Wes, February 10, 2004
I recently lost an old friend and I was trying to think of a proper tribute, so I thought I would write an article about this old friend and maybe you folks would understand how I feel. I’ve thought about this a great deal and I think sharing these memories will be the best medicine. We were brought together by fate back in 1995 and were pretty much inseparable, where you seen one on the lake or river you seen the other. We shared many fishing adventures thru the years and I will share some of those memories with you.
My old friend was with me when I first learned this lake where I’m currently located, we learned this lake together and have caught our share of trout on this lake. We spent many happy hours together on this lake my old friend and myself. I have a lot of fond memories on this lake. We were together when I bought my boat and motor this last fall, we checked it out together and brought it home together. Yes my old friend was always there. I remember back some 4 years ago when we entered a Mackinaw Tournament, I knew nothing about this species and had never fished for them before but I did a little homework and we were together on this. My old friend was there when I hooked into and landed my first mack. Although we didn’t have downriggers we still put these beautiful fish in the boat. It was a great time.
My old friend was with me when I won my first club trout tournament. Know one else was catching trout, but we did. It was a proud moment and my old friend was there. We traveled for two and a half hours just to get to this1day tournament. It was cold and nasty and the wind blew most of the contestants off of the lake, but my old friend and myself stuck it out together. Yes I will miss this old friend. We were together for my second club tournament win it was a close one but we won it by 2 and a half pounds. It was a long and grueling tournament but we stuck it out. It was freezing in the mornings and hotter than the devil in the afternoon. But we managed to stick it out. It was a great win. Yes I’ll miss this old friend.
My old friend was with me when I caught my first trout on a fly rod. It was a perfect day you couldn’t ask for better fishing conditions. I made my first several casts and hooked into my first one, a nice 12” rainbow. My second one was even bigger a nice 2 ½ lb’er, he made several runs on me before he surrendered to the net. As the day went on I finally managed to get my third trout a beautiful 3 ½ lb rainbow. This was quite a little fight and my old friend was there to share in all my glory. It seems like my old friend has shared in many of my personal triumphs.
We took a trip together this fall trophy hunting for huge rainbows. This particular lake holds the state record for the largest Rainbow Trout. It was a cold fall morning the water was calm and everything looked good. We ran down the lake 8 miles and worked the area for a couple of hours and we managed to put one 5 lb rainbow in the boat, not exactly what we were looking for but better than nothing. The wind started to pick up and it started to sprinkle just a bit and I decided I should head toward the docks and get a little closer to home. On our way the water was no longer like glass and the wind and rain was picking up making things a little rough. The closer we got to our home port the rougher the water got until finally we were 2 miles from our port and the waves were now white capping and reaching heights of four feet. Quite exciting if you are in a little 12 foot aluminum boat. It took us 6 hours to reach the launch point, but my old friend and I made it together.
This past month we were together fishing on the river for silvers (coho salmon) and did quite well. It was the first time in several years that I had taken the time to pursue these fish. But once out there I remembered how much I had enjoyed it, reading the water and throwing spoons, working all the runs effectively it was like I hadn’t missed a beat. My old friend was there when I brought my first one in, it was a nice 6 pounder very bright and you could tell it had just come into the river. Yes my old friend was there for every one of the 9 I caught this year. Through the rain and wind we stuck it out. In fact my old friend was there to witness my largest winter steelhead of 15 pounds. What a fight this fish put up. Yes I’m going to miss my old friend.
I will admit I thought the end was coming near, you could tell by the worn and tattered look that time had taken its toll. I just never thought that it would come this soon we had only really begun to experience the fishing life, the good life. We had spent 8 good years fishing as one. It seemed as time went on we became tighter and tighter, I will miss this old friend. Then that fateful day came there was an accident and an arm was lost, that was all it took. What a dreadful accident after all we had been through together. I will truly miss that old sweatshirt and can only hope to find another one that will be as lucky. Farewell old friend.