Excerpt from the new Fall 2007 Issue

How did I get here? I'm lying on my back in a sticky, soaking, sagging, zero-degree, goose-down mummy bag, shivering like a dog shitting a peach pit. The canvas ceiling above our heads has reached total saturation while the frame creaks and sways through 40mph winds. The canvas shell flaps and pops, billows and collapses, each gust knocking the moisture free in a shower of 42-degree water. Then drops start to form again, build in size and cling for a moment before the tent swells and slams back into place. Another shower. There's nowhere to go.

Steelhead

I'm four weeks into a steelheading bender somewhere in the northernmost reaches of British Columbia. Yesterday I was in a jet sled. A man backed his drift boat into the run I was fishing, dropped the oars for a moment, stood from his rowing seat and pointed two fingers at me in the shape of a pistol. He mimicked one recoil from a shot, blew on his fingers, tucked the imaginary weapon into an imaginary holster, sat down and continued to row down river.

This kind of shit gets you thinking. Waiting for another shower in my mummy bag, I'm wondering why anyone gives the rest of their life away to the consequences of this passion? Where and how we fish are lifestyle choices; a fold in the timeline of life and part of a natural selection process that we're not aware of until it's too late—that being the moment one finds oneself sitting at home on a Friday night at age 28 under a single desk lamp tying string leeches, anticipating a two-week stint on a steelhead stream some six months away. You are out of the breeding pool while perpetuating your own demise. Your friends are out getting laid and you're a pathetic dork covered in bunny fuzz, threading Berkley Firewire through a quarter-inch strip of animal skin. This I pondered until the storm passed and I could jot these thoughts down on a dry surface…