Do You See What I See?

Guest Blogger: Allen Bell, republished from the Aguabonita Fly Fishers and Southern Sierra Fly Fishers club newsletters.

Clark Fork River, near St Regis

Clark Fork River, near St Regis

This is no doubt a beautiful picture. I have many sunset pictures. I like sunset. Sunset represents many things. This sunset represents a wonderful day of fishing on a great river. I look at this picture and the memories flood back – the fish, the people I’ve come to love, the outings I have gone on. The highlight of this day was a huge foam pad rotating in the biggest back eddy I had ever seen. Hey, why not throw the big Turks Tarantula I was fishing in there. Turned out to be a good idea. The foam immediately exploded and 15 minutes later, I landed a 19” Cuttbow that was so colorful, I thought it had to have been painted. It definitely was the fish of the week for me; that is one fish that I will never forget.

Shane forcing a picture of a sucker with a great guide who just didn’t get the ‘sucker thing’

Shane forcing a picture of a sucker with a great guide who just didn’t get the ‘sucker thing’

I have enjoyed so many beautiful sights while fishing. Mostly the scenery, but sometimes, other things make me think about why we are here. My good friend Shane and I were floating the Lower Sac with a guide. I don’t remember his name, I think it was Phil, but I’ll never forget the day. We caught fish after fish, almost all really big Rainbows. Shane hooked a fish he couldn’t get to come up. Our guide got really excited. He was sure this was a really big fish. Shane started to laugh and guessed this was a big suckerfish. Shane was right, Phil was bummed. Now Phil doesn’t know Shane’s love and history for Suckers. If there is a sucker around, Shane will catch it. We love them, Suckers are the true native fishes of the waters we fish. They are hard fighters and sometimes they are all we can catch. What’s not to like? Phil wasn’t impressed when we both grabbed for our cameras. We had caught so many 17 to 21” trout we had stopped taking pictures long ago. Things change, we have a SUCKER aboard now. The joke went on, we decided that since we were paying Phil, he should hold the fish for a picture. That was definitely not going to happen, so Shane held the fish as close as he could to include our guide in the picture of a life time….to us anyway.

bell do you see 3 goldenSometimes your state of mind at the time makes what you see the meaningful. Sometimes, what you catch and where you catch it is what makes the memory what it is. This Golden was caught because I lost sight of my flies and they drifted under a tree trunk submerged in high water. I was sure I had lost everything when I saw my dry fly swimming out into the open water. I had just started fly fishing and many things went wrong on a regular basis. I had tied many rigs that day and was getting frustrated. This fish made my day and when I showed the picture to a friend and he told me that this was a pretty nice Golden from this water, it made my week. Before I snapped this picture, the frustration had turned to great happiness. One little jewel of a fish turned a normal day into one I will not forget. The fish don’t always have to be big to be memorable.

bell do you see 4 startSometimes I forget why I do this. I get too wrapped up into the how and where. I think too much about tying the flies and chasing gear and stuff to just sit back and enjoy the day. I’m doing better at that though. I’ve learned, with help from my friends, to live in the moment. It’s good to be prepared, but it’s better to enjoy the trip. The whole trip. The buildup, the rush of excitement as we leave. The ability to enjoy the whole thing seems to be more important now. This year, it was good I wasn’t so wound up. The weather was difficult, to say the least. This picture is of a great friend in a pool that we will talk about for years. Actually, the weather this day turned out to be the best of the week, as was the fishing. That didn’t really matter though. As I took this picture to record what I saw, I was thinking how lucky I was to have friends like Mark and the many others I think so much of. I was thinking how lucky I was just to be standing in this wonderful place, at this point in time. How could anything make me happier? Blue Skies and Fishy Flies.

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