Happy Thanksgiving. Here is a story about a thankful angler.
I’m thankful for all the great trips I have had on the Kenai River as a
adult day care provider fly fishing guide. This is a great time of the year for reflection and remembrance. I recall a great character on my boat one day. Before the trip was through, we were calling him the accidental angler. Some anglers simply have a special day, regardless of experience or conditions. Starting with a positive attitude and minimal expectation seems to help. Being on the water during a savage bite does not hurt either.
Initially, the accidental angler needed some direction on how to cast, drift and hook fish. He soon mastered the cast and drift, but he had issues with hooking his fish. (I’m going to get a t-shirt made that says “Save the Indicators”.) He was a classic late hook setter. Actually, his hook set was more like a series of body twitches that never resulted in a tight line. The indicator would dive, he would watch it go and then start tap dancing and then shrug his shoulders (I think this was a hook set attempt) after the fish was long gone. Sometimes this would occur after an escaping fish had jumped clear out of the water. After several missed bites, he caught an accidental fish while lifting his rod. I’m not sure if he was trying to cast or checking his fly, but the result was a hooked trout. Then he did it again. It soon became apparent to me that things would go best if I let them unfold without further coaching.
His son on the other hand was going crazy. “Dad, set the hook.” Twitch. “Dad, that was a fish.” Twitch. “Dad, you set too late.” Twitch. “Dad; Oh, you got one.” “Dad, I don’t believe it.” “Dad, how did you do that?” The accidental angler was a fun loving guy having one of those special moments on the river with his son. Everyone was catching fish, but he was getting the lion’s share, mostly by accident.
Soon, the accidental angler was laughing, joking, twitching and catching fish after fish. He would miss obvious takes, but somehow hook fish inexplicably. He was having fun and could not stop talking. Yada…yada…yada…oh, fish on! He would look at the mountains and hook a fish. Twitch randomly and oh, fish on. Look at his son and hook a fish. Watch another angler’s indicator dive, set his own hook and catch a fish. He even took a break from the action and started air hooking. Whenever his son’s indicator would dive, he would reflexively jerk his arm without a line in the water. We were all in stitches most of the day. I think he even set the hook on a few bumps while driving back from the boat landing. I don’t know if he ever set the hook when he was supposed to, but it did not matter. It was a sensational day of fishing fun and that was no accident.