Monday, June 1, 2015

Day One of My Dream

I was going to write a poignant blog posting bitching about the guides and outfitters insisting on running their jet sleds up and down the lower river but I came down to the Tap Room to get Internet access and ran into Matt Hargrave and we started reminiscing about first days on the water. I shared this story with him and figured you'd be more interested in this. (Only on my first beer.)

I showed up to the shop on the first day I ever was booked and nervously waited for my clients. They were suppose to be there at eight and by about eight-thirty when they still didn't show, I figured it was a no-go. You want to talk about bummed.

I hung around the shop for a while and at around ten, these told guys walked in complaining about the fact that their guide didn't show up.

"All we want is someone to row us down-stream," they said. "We can fish."

"Ok. I'm in."

We headed out and these guys let me know they were DFO's--dry fly only, guys.

"Great," I thought. "My first fricken trip and these guys are dry fly only guys."

We headed out and I rigged them up with probably a caddis or something and headed downstream. The weren't very good and they knew it so just getting opportunities were good enough for them but it was really stressing me out. As a new guide, you feel the pressure of producing more than a seasoned guy because your confidence hasn't developed. Unfortunately, that translates to numbers and more-so; numbers in the net. These guys weren't landing shit.

Eventually I suggested to my guys we might want to chuck some streamers and one of the boys said, "Sure!"

The other guy wasn't all that interested and was even a little ticked off his buddy was going to be chucking and ducking out of the front of the boat while he was throwing dries out of the back. But he agreed to give it a shot and I re-rigged my guy's rod in the front.

Dude took about 5 casts and "wham!" a really nice brown pounds his streamer. He lands the fish, takes and picture, I think I'm a hero and he says, "All right. That was fun. Now let's go back to throwing dries."

"What the...?!!" I thought it. I didn't say it but instead, re-rigged his rod and got blanked the rest of the day.

It was almost exactly a year later I got a call from Arnie Gidlow--another outfitter I had been doing some days for. He told me he had a couple clients that showed up randomly who he said were incredibly difficult. He said they wouldn't listen and just wanted to throw dries all day. I told him I was fine with that and planned to meet the next morning.

I showed up that next morning and jumped in Arnie's suburban to do the shuttle and still hadn't met my guys but they were in the truck too. We got to talking and I started putting two and two together and I was finally like, "Holy shit, didn't I guide you guys last year?"


"Yeah, I did guide you guys last year! How you been?" I asked.

"Great! You ready to do some rowing?"

"Sure, Let's do it."

We went out and had an awesome day and at the end of it, my guy says, "Man Russ, you have a lot more confidence than you did last year. What gives?"

I said, "Thanks, if I'm going to be totally honest with you, you guys were the first guys I ever guided and you were DFO's. I was actually waiting for clients that didn't show up when you guys came into the shop. I was pretty intimidated."

"Well, today was fun. Thank you."

"You are welcome."

Ok, so I wasn't going to focus on this but you know what, I am going to say something about it. I was down on the lower river yesterday and it was good. We got out before most of the crowds and got off before it got too busy. The fish were eating and we had fun and then we got down to Cascade and we ran into the jet-sleds. Let me just say to all you guys that don't give a crap about the other guides that are working their asses off to give their clients a good day, they don't want to see or hear you guys ripping up and down the river; besides the fact that it can really fuck up a good bank or a stretch that was hot. And here's the other thing, you're clients don't think it's all that cool either. I've talked to them.

So I used to think we should all get together and figure out a way to ban motors on the river because you, (the outfitters and guides with captain's licenses,) obviously can't handle the responsibility but now I'm thinking, "screw it, you're building up a rep for yourselves and will eventually cut your own throats." And when a client asks me with discussed, whether or not I know you I politely say, "Yep, that's..." (Now I'm a couple beers into the night and feeling a bit frisky.)

Keep 'em where they live...

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