Part 1: Trophy Water Gentility, all the fart bars, sardines, and fly rods you can stuff into a Tacoma
When I’d first heard of it, I wondered whether it was a preview of what the future holds.
Our scientists grow ever insistent that in the coming decades Global Warming will reduce salmonids to 50% of their current range, and in that overly warm future, anything “at-risk” now will be lethal to our cold water bluebloods.
… and while we’re enamored of trophy trout and spare no expense to introduce them in even marginal conditions, at some point will the environment force us to shift from inbred salmonids to a Trophy “Cockroach” fishery, and might we ever hold them in similar regard?
I was fortunate to get a glimpse of the future this weekend. A local rumor of a city planner, turned bass pro, former tomato farmer, whose passion it is to create trophy bass ponds for private land owners.
Access being limited to a couple of local schools and their charity auction, which is about as exclusive as any rarified millionaire’s retreat. One of the fellows from work had stumbled upon the trip last year, and with my urging managed to snap up both of the trips offered this year, and I whined and moaned until he tired of my protruding lower lip and agreed to split the adventure.
… then, after weeks of enduring his vile torments, “ … my wife wants me to take the kids, instead …’, he relented. I would supply the flies, tie all his knots, and if the landowner questioned my schoolboy’s outfit (and matching bowtie) I would claim to be his son.
… the half wit version, naturally.
Proving that any fisherman worthy of the name would endure any indignity, or humiliation, for a crack at the Holy Water.
Honoring my part of the bargain was simple, only Bass Pro’s and fly fishermen lack a common language. When asked what the fish were biting on, the response was “frogs.”
Live ones? Top water deer hair flavor? Green, Yellow … what?
I was to find that my “dad” was a half wit as well, and “frogs” was to be the only intel to be had.
Dutifully I spent the next week piling mounds of olive and yellow deer hair around the vise, possessed by every bit of top water fancy imaginable. I did normal, fanciful, exacting, and literal. I did frogs by Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Monet, and Jackson Pollock.
With fly boxes bulging with rubber legs and trimmed Olive deer hair, and house freshly cleaned of hair via rented leaf blower, I was beginning to feel that “well heeled” feeling, the invulnerability that comes with knowing that even if I stumbled and fell in head first, I would float to the surface in an oil slick of silicon and yellow dye.
Trophy water and private enclaves are typically a genteel sport, and despite the warm water quarry this would be no different.
The luxury of stuffing a vehicle full of every imaginable fishing necessity is foreign to us hardscrabble public water types. Wicker picnic baskets and exotic livery just get in the way of the bloodshed, yet I found myself delighting in adding every possible amenity; a float tube, chest waders, hip waders, and waist breathables. A car within a stone’s throw of the water meant four rods, four reels, a couple of room temperature hydration packs, apples, oranges, sardines, and fart bars, everything necessary to survive hostile environments, ravenous meat eating trophy bass, and with the sketchiest of intel …
Part II Tomorrow, We use worms …