To keep myself from getting down because the rivers are chalky and the spring wind’s howling on the lakes, I have to remind myself that fishing is a humiliation for me anyway–unless I’m alone. If I’m with someone else, they’ll see that I never learned to cast right, that my knots look like the wind tied them, and that I just use three or four basic fly patterns with names like Hank o’ Hair because I’m too lazy to find out what’s in or on the water. I still catch enough fish to keep myself addicted, but when I’m with someone who knows how to do it, I’ll often just put my rod down and watch. Sometimes I’ll even hide.
Like once when I was with John Holt, probably back in the spring of ’95 or ’96, and we were fishing on a Rocky Creek that runs through the Galt ranch and into the Smith near White Sulpher Springs. Holt seems to have been born with a fly rod affixed to his forearm, so I don’t think he ever had to learn how to cast. He just points to a place and the fly goes there. As I fumbled around plopping a bulky bugger thingy on the small water, I looked up and noticed Holt mowing his way upstream
through about a trout a minute. I think it took him longer to release them than it did to catch them. I put my rod down and hid.
Fishing the Yellowstone with Doug Peacock isn’t quite so intimidating. He sort of appears to fish like I do, whalloping a big soggy thing of feathers out below the riffles, but there the resemblance starts to
disintegrate. Not so much because he’s a great angler as because God follows him around like a big puppy. With God tagging along, he, of course, catches a lot of big trout. In such cases, I’ll put my rod
down, but I won’t hide. Who could hide from Doug and his pet, God. Here’s a picture of Doug, God, and a nice brown they caught a ways upstream from the bridge to Pine Creek.