Revive - A Quarterly Fly Fishing Journal - Page 58

Somewhere in New Zealand, on a backcountry hike lit up at night by the Southern Cross and glow worms, I fell in love with a boy when I saw him fly fish for the first time. I sat down in tall grass, biting gnats be damned, and I marveled at the way fly fishing can make a boy a man and make a man beautiful. I saw a pair of broad shoulders tied loosely to slim hips and a hat pulled low over squinting eyes. I saw the way casting can strip a fellow of his clumsiness and soften the bends of an angular frame. I saw the poetry of fly line flashing like yellow silk ribbon between ten and two; rhythmic, controlled, effective. Oh, heck, I was hooked.

That beautiful boy caught me a twenty two inch rainbow trout one day when we were hungry, out of food and miles from anywhere while hiking the South Island backcountry of New Zealand. Anything can taste exceptional when you’re half starved but that trout was the most delicious fish I have ever eaten.

Robert loved fish. I loved Robert. The fish loved us. It was a version of a bizarre love triangle. Eventually, I married that man for a host of reasons, most notably because I knew for certain if we were ever starving to death he could go out and catch us a fish to eat.

After I married Robert, we moved to Alaska to work for a rafting company. We lived at the confluence of the Klutina and Copper Rivers — both wild and legendary waterways. When the salmon started running we ate fresh caught fish every single night. Robert was salmon obsessed. Oh, he had a terrible fish fever. But me? In Alaska I fell in love with trout.