We each have a time in our lives when a date brings you back to memories of the past. Many years ago in December I lost the most important person in my life, my mother. A few years later on the same anniversary date I lost a good friend that took his own life.
When my mother passed, I became more of a recluse and for some reason started to go out in the winter looking for something. I thought it was my first steelhead, but later I found out it was a lot more. Several years later when one of my fishing buddies passed, I started to question life and why I was out there. At that time we had a close nit group of buddies. We jokingly called ourselves The Early Morning Freestone Pimps. This group name came from our good friend who was no longer with us. It took a long time for me and my buddies to get out fishing again, especially getting out together.
Now years have passed and we all got together from time to time, but this day or time of year was different and over the years we decided that it was important to remember that day together in the fashion best suiting this group of buddies. That would be of course fishing. It hasn't been all about fishing, more about getting together as you might expect, remembering our lost friend and for me my mother.
Mike Gamby, who you will recognize as one of the posters on this blog, is a a unique individual. Mike, a family man, works educating our youth promoting sports activities though Vancouver Parks and Recreation. Mike's one of those up beat guys that is as honest and straight forward as it gets. Over the years like mine his life has been blessed with children and time for fishing decreased. He however helped me realize how special it was to come home to happy faces and giggling children after a long day at work or on the river. Coach Mike as my daughter calls him from her days at the local recreational center still plays hockey and very soon might be drafted into the NHL, or at least into some Pee Wee league somewhere.
The only real flaw, though you may call it a blessing, is that Mike is not addicted to steelheading. Just saying!
Jaybird, Jay the Pirate, Boogie, Flip or Jay Johnson's life changed several times before finding a home with the Motiv Crew, Fly Fishing Film Tour and naked Airflo Fly Line advertisements. This dude asked me if I was Asian the first time I met him and after telling him I was half Filipino, I was adopted into his family.
Over the years life has changed for both of us and he now gets to live the dream we always talked about. So when Mikey and I got to his house the other day to spend the day on the river you would think this professional fly fishermen would be ready. Instead it was like it was so many years past. He couldn't find his shit. Seriously the dude couldn't find his gear. Like always there is gear all over the place and enough guns and ammo for the Zombie Apocalypse, but his wader bag was no wear in sight.
Of course we found a pair of moldy boots fresh with a layer of moss on them in the backyard, but they did not quite have the traction of the pair he used while traveling across the globe. So after some nicotine, a nap on the couch, playing fetch with Ruthless his dog, curing cancer and inventing a three handed fly rod, Jay finally found his wader bag. It only took two hours, but who needed time when Jay has a time machine.
After hitting the road and stopping by a greasy pot for breakfast, we slipped time back to 1669 and hiked down one of our old secret waters in search of a few early winter steelhead. It didn't take long to find them, but it sure took a long time to get one to take. After hiking up and down the stream we finally found a pod of fish that we could cast to and after we all took a crack at them I finally hooked up. While fighting the fish I turned to the boys just in time to hear Jay tell Mikey, "That sure looks like fun!" Classic comments like this throughout the years is what fishing with Jay is all about.
A few minutes later I was able to feed the Johnson household once again. Fishing wasn't the best part of the day, but catching a fish always helps. Take time to give thanks to your family and friends before you loose your chance and always remember and learn from those you lost. This is a time of the year for friends and family after all.
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