Trout Camp for Spring 2015 is in the books. We fished the Pere Marquette near Baldwin.
My buddy Chip with whom I fished the morning before the series with Chris above. We had fun even before the Amber Liquid - that's a Two-Hearted in his hand. Yes, named for the Hemingway story. We drink clas here in the Amber Anglers.
I don't have pictures of the other crew. I'm not a very good photographer and none of the other Amber Anglers have stepped-up. Wilson did however give each of us wonderful waterproof pouches this year which served quite well considering the spill rate.
Yes, we fell. We fell a great deal.
Chip and I started off in a section where I knew I'd go down. I left, stopped by Baldwin Bait and Tackle, and bought a Simms wading staff that Wilson has used for a few years now. Saved. My. Ass.
Chip went in twice - full on - on the stretch we started and I left. Soaked him.
I fell the next morning just entering the river. Luckily, I did a "sit" fall and only splashed myself and my dignity. I tripped over the wading staff.
Rumour has it our Alaskan made a brief dip - nothing too bad.
Our chef Big Bear (aptly named) took a bad fall that had me concerned. He floated a hole and at one point had four paws (including the one holding the reel) only above the water. He managed to drain, re-suit, and fish a good hour before deciding to return to the cabin for lunch.
Five degrees cooler and we all could have had some field-expedient intervention. I've ended up field stripped by force wearing someone else's waders, a donated shirt, hat, jacket, and bounce marched back to civilization. I'm alive. We needed nothing so severe.
Conditions were first hot then cold. Wilson made excellent fires. Moberon had wonderful Bell's beverages for refreshment. Chef Big Bear fed us like we were rabid infantrymen with tapeworms. I'm getting old. I can't handle the volume of food I might want to eat anymore.
Our new member who couldn't make the trip sent a bottle of fine amber spirits. He's in.
Steak night was great but for the fact my buddy Chip had to leave us early. These young pups have other commitments. I'm all done bird hatching so my time is my own. Took a long time to get here, though.
One of our new anglers had a free trip up in Canada and couldn't make it. Of course. Free trip in Canada.
One of our original members lives completely in a world of shit and couldn't make it. His life will change. Young lives do. We''ll still be around when his world turns as it always does.
I gave everyone some of my ugly flies. They were not magic flies, alas.
Chris - our new member from the pictures above - was super to fish with and in his first fly fishing camp hooked a fish. He got to feel the fish on the end of his line. Awesome. Not to hand - probably because I gave everyone my barbless flies - but there it is. I had several hook-ups not come to hand too.
Chris and I traded gear for a bit because I wasn't in love with the set-up he borrowed for camp. Nothing wrong with it except that it's a stiff (tree trunk stiff) six-weight that robs some feeling. I made it work fine and so did Chris; but, he got to fish my new 5 wt Hardy Zenith a while.
I lost a nice fish on his 6 wt when I was in current, hooked, and didn't move to slack water soon enough. Broke 5x tippet. No help from the rod but it was my fault. Had the bloody rod in the air like I was fighting marlin and I know better on nice fish. I got what I deserved for that bit of stupidity.
Didn't make a difference trading gear. Bastard is a natural athlete with better than solid hand-eye coordination. He was throwing line just fine in roll and overhead and the lob after about an hour. Takes instruction well. He's as good as any of us just picking up the rod.
Great he was able to hook-up down on the stretch in the picture above. Great riffle before a pool and he had one take a hare's ear I tied.
Highlight of my trip having a new guy hook-up. Made me feel we have a chance at being something other than old guys waving sticks.
The wet weather didn't sit well with all the anglers. I like shitty weather. There's something wrong with me and I wade like a club-footed T-Rex. Rain helps my approach. Maybe the late-summer/fall camp will have blue-bird weather.
Well, not many.
Fish are not the reason we're at it, anyway. They help. So do smoked oysters, steaks, s'mores over the fire and salted-chocolate chip cookies. The meat pie Chef Big Bear made was amazingly tasty. I love meat baked in crusts. Damn fine food.
Now, back to improving our skills.
I've got a new wading staff. Won't be leaving home without that little beauty. I keep a bail-out bag in the car, too. Clothes will fit most. Always helps.