Back Issue Content: 2010
It takes a certain swagger to pull off a good mustache. Some guys just have it: Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Jose Wejebe. And ’staches on Norris, Bronson, Chuck Furimsky, and the Marlboro Man say “badass” like no others. Hall-of-fame pitcher and fisher “Goose” Gossage carries an enviable upper-lip umbrella, as does Dr. Phil—meaty enough to inspire any preadolescent to sprout whiskers and start wearing Speed Stick—or give out relationship advice.
Unfortunately, today’s mustache has mostly gone out of style. Classics such as dundrearies (a sideburn and mustache bridge connecting one side of your face to the
Bob Dylan: Folk singer. Protest singer. Betrayer of folk music. Born-again Christian. Orthodox Jew. Victoria’s Secret pitch man. Christmas song crooner. Flyfisherman. Flyfisherman?
There is no photographic evidence of Robert Zimmerman stepping out of a river bearing a brace of trout, boots of Spanish leather glistening; nor are there secondhand tales of a small mumbling man with a bewildering patter and a decent roll cast, tales shared by grizzled guides after too much bourbon, and only with trusted clients.
No. There are only the songs themselves.
As you will soon see, a close scrutiny of the music of Bob Dylan will reveal the passion of Bob Dylan—namely, fishing. Specifically, trout fishing. Especially in the years 1967 to 1976.
“Yea Heavy and a Bottle of Bread”
Recorded in 1967 with the musicians that would come to be known the following year as The Band, “Yea Heavy and a Bottle of Bread” marks Dylan’s first unabashed declaration of piscine passion:
Saloons tucked away in the small Rocky Mountain communities that survive on the ebb and flow of anglers are where fishing stories either start or end. The more dilapidated, the better. If flakes of hide splinter off a 60-year old mule deer mount, or pornographic cartoons denote the men’s and women’s restrooms, then grab a seat and enjoy.
I believe Grogan’s was the former name, though I think most refer to it now as simply the Glen Bar. Cleaner and brighter than most, and roughly the size of a double-wide, it’s not the biggest one-horse watering hole in Montana. But because you can beach a drift boat, walk past the masked scarecrow to the rear entrance, wet your whistle, then resume fishing on the lower Big Hole, it’s one of my favorites.
1. The OCD
The OCD boat gets washed at the end of every day, and is always trailered with a cover on. The OCD gets an even more thorough power-washing on days off. The OCD owner will frequently make clients stand around at the takeout ramp while he gives the boat “just a quick sponge bath.”
Stickers: Possibly one or two, but very carefully positioned using a protractor, with obvious concern for the overall layout.
Amenities: The OCD carries something for every conceivable situation: several camp chairs, two snake-bite kits, toilet paper, a Sven saw, flares, emergency blankets, a tarp, binocs for non-fishing partners, kindling, a lantern, feminine napkins, the book: “What to do When Struck by Lightning.” What you’ll Find Under the Rower’s Bench: Not a thing. Ever.
How Not to Start the Day: By getting in with muddy boots, tripping over the carefully coiled anchor line, and spilling your caramel soy latte.
John Jackson began snowboarding as a preteen on the powder-strewn spines of the Eastern Sierras, near his hometown in Crowley Lake, California. Soon after, he cast his first flies in that same backyard—in places with legendary names like Inyo, Sierra, Yosemite, and King’s. Fifteen years later and the basic ingredients haven’t changed, just the stakes. He’s still riding snowboards—though he no longer shares one with his sister—and today he logs long hours chasing storms, sourcing untapped descents, and nailing burly backcountry drops as a pro rider for Forum Snowboards. When the season’s over, he fishes: the East Walker and Hot Creek; the Truckee River in his new backyard; northern California’s coastal steelhead streams, or somewhere totally off the grid, just to fuel the wanderlust.
This issue of The Drake went to press on May 20, exactly one month after the disastrous oil rig explosion off the Louisiana coast. With 24-hour news coverage providing in-depth, up-to-the-minute details on containment efforts, and with many “experts” sharing their thoughts on television and message boards, we went to the source, and asked for thoughts from some of the guides who know the marsh best. —The Editors.
With apologies to Texas, there’s a saying down on the bayou: “Everything’s bigger in Loueeziana.” And it’s true—the parties, the people, the personalities, the music, the fish, the flavors, and, unfortunately, the fuckups. Just as New Orleans and the coastal communities to the south seemed to be turning the tide after Katrina, that tide now runs black. The natural disaster of Katrina, which was prophesied years earlier and brought home to all of us in images of a flooded city, proved that things really are bigger in the Bayou State. It was a worst-case scenario that shocked even those who had forecast the event. But now it looks possible that the Deepwater Horizon explosion, and the failure of the “failsafe” valve to shut off the flow of oil, could become the largest environmental disaster ever. If continued attempts to shut off the well remain unsuccessful, and clean-up efforts fail, the destruction of coastal wetlands will make the Katrina crisis seem insignificant.
Stiff keys moved toward the carriage like an old man lifting his arthritic knees up a flight of stairs. They rose once, twice and, with effort, three times. A weathered and worn ribbon, now more leather than cloth, slowly began to cough up faint traces of ink with each succeeding stroke. And with each erratic clack, Ray Bergman’s 1912 Travel Corona, Model 3 typewriter woke reluctantly from a forty-year slumber.
The old typewriter came to me by way of my college roommate, Scott Wagner. He stumbled upon it while cleaning out his parent’s closet a few months ago. Scott remembered that it was a special typewriter passed down to his mother from her mother, Isabelle Bergman Ritchings. Scott’s grandmother was Ray Bergman’s sister. Ray Bergman being one of America’s most revered outdoor writers, the author of Trout (the consummate bible of trout fishing) and the first editor of Outdoor Life magazine.
1942 - 2009
I’m sitting now, on one of the first mornings of the New Year, in a messy, stinky pile of marabou feathers and raccoon skins that nearly canvas the frigid wood floor of my tying room. It’s only ten a.m., and I’ve sneezed at least a couple dozen times by now, and my fleecy home office uniform is flecked with bits of moth-chewed feathers and finely shredded Mylar, and I’m wondering if my house can really afford to smell any more like naphthalene and stale nicotine than it did before I inherited this feather and fur explosion.
I met Jack Gartside, unbeknownst to him, when I was fifteen on a sleety Saturday afternoon in Hamden, Connecticut. He was making some white and pink Soft Hackle Streamers at a mid-winter fly-tying event held by the Housatonic Fly Fisherman’s Association, and I was completely mesmerized by the simple yet elegant design of his funky streamer and the grace with which he constructed it. I had him sign his page in Judith Dunham’s The Art of the Trout Fly, and I nestled between the pages one of his dyed-pink mallard breast feathers that carpeted the floor around his feet. I remember thinking to myself that this dude was, uh…different.
- The Been-There-Done-That Guy
He is a walking, yammering Wikipedia of guides, lodges, rivers, oceans, lakes and fish. He’s the best caster he’s ever met. He sets up his vice on the bar during happy hour and forces you to notice his extraordinary tying skills. He owns three obscure IGFA records and is working on six more that no one will care about. He’ll ask you a question about fishing just so he can cut you off in mid-reply and answer it himself. He is, quite possibly, the most uninteresting man in the world.
- He regularly casts 80 to 100 feet, with no accuracy whatsoever.
- He doesn’t seem to think it’s in any way weird to fish in the dark, all night, every night, sometimes for weeks at a time.
- He thinks a 1/0 hook is small.
- He assumes that the hot chicks at Lighthouse Beach are checking him out because he’s an attractive, rugged outdoorsman, when they’re actually wondering why the trippy dude with the fishing pole is wearing a dishpan around his waist.
- He appears to hate bluefish more than any human has ever hated another living thing.
- He frequently uses a hundred-thousand-dollar, five-thousand-pound boat to catch a 20-ounce fish.
- He seems to enjoy fishing in areas with jumbo jet exhaust, Ferris wheels, power plants, the monstrous wakes of high-speed ferries, and what seems like every center-console boat ever produced since the dawn of time.