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  • Tuesday, June 11, 2013

    Busman's Holiday

    Park It, Talk It, Fish It,
    the fish speak:
    the fisher answers
    .. We've been blessed with the friendship of several neighbors that guide and fish for a living. They are usually found plying their trade on the big and famous stretches of the lowland Madison River. We usually haunt the nearby little trickles of water in our neighborhood.
    The Madison Fishing Bus - Launch It - Quick
    .. On rare occasions we are gifted with a visit to the fabled 100 mile riffle. For us, it's a different sort of fishing.
    .. Vast open spaces are hinted at from the incised river course. When floating the river it's possible to see the snowy mountains peeking from behind the massive terraces of the river's long and varied history.
    .. This river speaks to some of our neighbors like no other. It calls. They respond. Even on their rare day off they return to visit the water and the fish.
    .. Most of the local guides have lived here for over 20 years: some for over three decades. They love the winters. They love the summers. They love the rivers. They love the fish.
    .. When the phone rings and the voice says: "I'm going fishing, want to come along?" We immediately accept and rearrange our schedule to comply. For the voice it's a busman's holiday. For us it's a rare treat.
    Get Out Of The Boat - Explore Fresh Water
    .. Right now the Madison River is in great shape for the early season. The bottom is full of little critters moving around and getting dislodged.
    .. Some of the little critters are headed to the shore. Some of the little critters are bobbing to the surface. Some are just hanging out and getting eaten. They are all getting eaten by the fish, (and each other,) Early Summer is the time of eating beneath the surface of the river.
    .. We arrive to join in the eating frenzy by providing phony food. Great sport. The fish comply. White fish, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, etc. are eating. We are feeding. Yum!
    ..The bus bobs along the river. The bus driver is exploring a river that is as familiar as his own self. Yet it's different from day to day and month to month and year to year and decade to decade. We're along for the ride.
    Put This One Up High - For The Moment
    .. Fish a little, catch a little, talk and laugh a lot. This is not a guided trip. It's not a float to the familiar slots where the fish are stacked like cord wood.
    .. This is exploration. This is pure pleasure on a river that sees too much targeted fishing. This is a conversation with water and fish and flies and those things that flash by unnoticed in the heat of catching.
    ..The bus driver gets to fish. The passenger gets to fish. Fish from the boat. Fish from the shore. Fish in the water. What's over there? This run is deeper this year. That boulder has fallen over.
    Surgery: Removal Of The Weapon From Above
    .. The swallows aren't very active. There's a raptor diving on a duck. Enjoy the day. Enjoy the river. No pressure to catch a dozen or more, (though we do.)
    .. Our bus gets passed by many other buses. They rush to the "good runs." They have hard-fishing clients. They are pressed to catch fish. Catch big fish. Catch many fish. Malign the White Fish. Pray for big Browns. Scream with glee at the aerobatic Rainbows. Take the stories back home to Iowa, or Georgia, or Vermont, or Mexico.
    .. We eat lunch in phases at several places. We sit in the boat. We sit on the bank. We nibble this and we gobble that. Picnic on the Madison River. Not a bad work if you can get it. Wet a line here. Surprise us and a fish there. Relax and continue the conversation with the river.
    .. The clouds finally come and decorate the sky. The shadows creep toward the river. The other buses are long gone. We arrive at the take out ramp. The angels of the river have shuttled the truck and trailer to the parking spot. We glide to the shore and drop 40 pounds of drag anchor to the bottom and climb out.
    .. The bus gets parked on it's trailer. The bus driver smiles and pats the gunwale and hull affectionately. Trusty steed. Work horse. Friend and tool. Good bus. Many thousands of miles logged on this and other rivers. But this is the one river that sticks. Got to get up tomorrow and go to work.
    Headed To The Barn - Workday Tomorrow.