‘Fall in’ with a fishing partner
October 29, 2014
Like most relationships, finding the perfect fishing partner can be an exhausting enterprise. Over the years, I've had fishing buddies come and go, most often due to girlfriends, wives, jobs, work, children, jail and death shifting the balance of life and fishing.
I've seen several of my friends get into and out of fly fishing, like a tide coming in and going out with regularity. Often, it's heartache that brings them back into the fold, while at other times it's due to a rare positive life change, such as retirement or a job relocation to a new fishy destination that reinvigorates their simple need to just be around water.
An ideal fishing companion should have similar (but not the same) fishing motives and preferences, temperaments, humor and angst to yours. It's more than OK — in fact, it's ideal — to have some differences of opinion with your partner, as long as you both can work amicably together through them.
More often than not, you kind of just fall in with your companion. I can't exactly remember the first time I met my main fishing buddy, Travis Lyons, but I remember that we instantly clicked when we talked about fishing, music and girls. We've been fishing long enough together that we each know what the other is thinking on the water as well as off the water; that innate sensibility of just knowing each other that well. We can have conversations without talking by just looking and reading each other.
We have spent so much time in the outdoors together that we know what to expect from each other. For example, during our fall fishing outings, I know that Trav will be tying on a big articulated streamer and gets first dibs fishing the prime water. He knows that I'll play cleanup behind him, picking off the less aggressive fish with nymphs and, hopefully, some dry flies.
One of my longtime friends, Kevin Blanchard, has recently come back into the fold, too. Having first fished with me about 15 years ago on a trip to Walden, Kevin went through the usual ups and downs in the job and life markets, quit fishing, had a midlife crisis and, like I did, found that his calling was to be where he loved: away from the big city and near the trout streams nestled in the mountains of our quaint Roaring Fork Valley. Rekindling a friendship and having another trusted fishing partner are not things that anyone should ever take for granted.
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Tides come and go, and so do friends and fishing partners, but they always make it back — some just figure it out sooner than others.
"On the Fly" is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.