The Writer

Like Montgomery, Bruun is on the phone when I arrive. He's talking to a Gary Wilmot, also known as The Wedge, also known as one of the most hardcore fisherman any of us will ever meet. (When I first met Gary, someone in the room brought up the subject of climbing. I had just finished climbing the Grand Teton and, being over-anxious to share this information, asked Willmot if he'd ever done it. "Why," he asked. "Are there fish up there?")

Stacks of outdoor books are scattered about Bruun's living room, many of which are signed by the author with some lengthy note preceded by "Dear Paul,."

Bruun is one of those people you see around town always engaged in conversation. He knows everybody. And he talks to them all.

"Paul cultivates friends very easily," Simms said. "We could go fishing anywhere in the world and we'd run into somebody he knew. Or somebody who knew somebody he knew. We'd get to talking to a couple from some small town in Texas and he'd know the mayor or something."

This ability to talk and to make friends translated into an early career in politics, when he served rare double duty as both a lift op and a city councilman.

"I was the liftee captain at Apres Vous and I'd have the Ski Corps president come up and talk with me at lunch," Bruun said. "My coworkers couldn't believe it."

While Paul's listening ability and memory is outstanding, it is the telling of stories where he really shines. But it can take a while.

"I'm a GPS-like story teller," he explains in the middle of one which has wandered considerably off-track. "I never leave them completely, I just circumnavigate them for a while."

Like Simms and Montgomery, Bruun has a variety of talents. But more than cooking, more than hunting, more than photography or writing, Paul is a fisherman. Not just a fly-fisherman, mind you. A fisherman. "Paul likes to spin cast," Simms said matter-of-factly. "And he's very good."

"Good" isn't the word Montgomery chooses to describe Bruun's fishing ability.

"I know `genious' may seem like a ridiculous term to use when talking about fishing," Montgomery says. "But it fits with Bruun."

Like any three friends, there were moments of competitiveness, though it's tough getting any of them to admit to it.

"There were days I wanted to do what they could do," Montgomery said. "I didn't try to trounce them all the time but I wanted to have my innings too" Did you?

"Well, Paul was fairly new to Jackson as well so I could sometimes outfish him," Montgomery said. "But with Simms it was tough. He would dissapear down some channel that I'd still be looking for five years later."