“The world’s a little older and the years have changed the river ’cause there are houses where there didn’t used to be.”
-Kris Kristofferson

Kris was right, but it doesn’t matter when you’re drifting. You look at the water mostly, and that hasn’t been built on, so it’s pretty much the same. I like drift fishing best because you’re part of the flow. The fish have to fight the currents, but they are built that way. When you’re in a boat with a oarsman who works against the river, it doesn’t feel right. It’s also true that when you’re in a boat with an oarsman who doesn’t work the blades enough, it shows. The river dictates the pattern, the line to take and the amount of effort. It changes not only according to the laws of nature, but who is fishing. I have known guides that stepped out of the game after a few seasons saying they had it “dialed” and it was “boring” to them. I must be simpleminded because it continues to fascinate and challenge me–everchanging and unpredictable and breaks you down little by little as you get older. Something in me likes the pain of a long day on the oars–somehow it keeps the demons at bay. There’s no time to think of other things. You slip out, take the first strokes, and begin to glide over the stone, grass, and sand. You line up for the first drop and start looking at the edge of the stream, working as a unit to discover where they fin today. You feather the oars on the soft banks, draw hard on the ferry across, and set up for the next bank until the river tells you what to do. Sometimes she says wait, sometimes she says go. Then when she gives you her secret, the magic happens. You and your fishermen begin to see the same holding water, you get into a glide that holds, and the fish begin to move. Everything else goes away, and all that matters is that two square feet of gin clear mountain water and butternut browns looking for the Trude. There is a lot of madness in the world, but for me it all goes away once I am at the oars on the rivers that deliver me from the certain pain of this life.

Live from the World Headquarters
Kea C. Hause esq.


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