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I've been swearing to Brian (Creative Director at Simms) I'd write this story for weeks now, but mostly I've just been procrastinating about... for some reason he thinks I can write. Not exactly sure why... I didn't even graduate high school and I certainly don't consider myself much of a writer... but here I am, its 00:05, I'm two Basil Hayden's deep with a general snus packed in the upper lip and the writer within is trying to pry his way out so please, have mercy.
This is a story of how I met a random person who became one of my best friends and have shared some of the most memorable experiences of my life with.
I'd say most would agree that more often than not, you meet someone through a friend or acquaintance and that person usually doesn't enter your tight knit circle of friends. They don't sit at your dinner table and you surely don't show them the juice. But every now and again you just click with someone new, weather your personalities mesh well together or you simply share common interests, the wires get crossed and boom! You have a connection.
That's pretty much exactly what happened with Darcy Bacha and I, one night at Mile One burger in Pemberton BC. After a long day of shooting snowboarding in the mountains we were introduced through mutual friends and quickly learned we both were into fishing.
What's shooting snowboarding you might ask? Well to be straight, somehow, by a great miracle, I get paid to snowboard and Darcy gets paid to take pictures of snowboarding, amongst other things.
So Darcy and I were on different crews, but it's a small industry and even smaller world so we ended up sitting together and naturally started talking about fishing over a juicy Mile One burger and beer. Turns out we both enjoyed searching for steelhead, like a lot! Here we are supposed to be "working" but all we talked about was fishing. Long story long, we both agreed that a mega adventure to the mother land of steelhead was in order. We kept in contact over the summer and solidified our plan for a fall journey north. Keep in mind, Darcy and I had known each other a total of one burger and two beers and we were planning on spending 22 hours in a car and six weeks of straight dirt bag camping together.... kind of crazy looking back at it now, but the dream of adventure in a land unknown was all we cared about.
Man’s best friend on lookout
The dogs find a dry spot
Home on wheels
Eric and his new toy
A man outstanding in his field
That trip changed us. We kept calling it the best trip ever, that was our phrase. We knew nothing of where we were other than the legendary stories most of us have heard. We weren't given anything, we worked hard for knowledge and slowly figured out the lay of the land. Then we met Dax Messet, just another dirt bag fisherman who had already spent something like 8 weeks solo up there and yet another life-long friendship was forged. Then we did it again the next year, then the year after that and the year after that and have been going ever since. If I had to give up all my travels and only choose one trip a year, it would be this one with Darcy and Dax, hands down.
I could go on and on about adventures we went on and people we met, like Ralph, a crusty old Canadian who is a dedicated member of the Steelhead society of BC and has seen more fish than all of us combined. He was not impressed by us at first, in fact he was pretty much a dick. It took two years for Ralph to warm up to us, mainly once he realized we were fishing dry flies and that we actually respect each and every fish we encounter. Now Ralph shares his flies, scotch and never ending knowledge with us. He is a true friend. We learned pretty quick that you get back what you put out.
So now the story comes to our most recent trip which I labeled confidence.
Confidence is key for success, especially for fishing. If there's one thing I know, it's that fish don't like a timid fly, or an angry one for that matter. So when you go back to the same river, year after year and catch fish in the same lye as the year before, You tend to gain a certain level of confidence. You've put the time in and figured out a small portion of how that system works and at very least have an idea of where a fish might be.