On Wednesday Neil and I were originally scheduled to fish a small creek for silvers with the owner, but he had some urgent business he needed to attend to and was unable to guide us.
Because of that, the owner sent us out with Mike, the guide who took us out on our first day.
Neil was not pleased.
Neil became even more cranky when we walked down to the boat and saw this.
Neil pointed to the rods, looked at Mike, and said, "What the hell is all that?"
"Insurance," replied Mike. "You're going to have a tough time catching silvers with all this sun today, especially with a fly rod, so I'm bringing some gear rods set up with jigs. I've got some roe as well."
Neil was not pleased.
It took us an hour to reach the mouth of the creek.
At one point we saw some moose standing on the shore.
I turned to Neil and said, "All you have to do now is catch a silver on top and a rainbow with a mouse pattern."
I then grabbed my camera and tried to get a photo of them, but they were too far away.
Once we hit the creek, a pair of shorebirds left the bank and starting flying in front of the boat. More birds quickly joined them as we continued motoring upstream, and soon there were over a dozen of them flying ahead of us.
Mike said they were plover, and they reminded me of miniature airborne dolphins.
We hit the creek at low tide, and it quickly became skinny.
Mike went as far as he could with the motor, then shut it down and informed us that unlike the river we'd visited the previous day, the limit here was three fish a piece.
Neil and I nodded in response, and Mike said, "OK! Go get 'em!"
A cloud of bugs engulfed us as soon as we left the boat, so I fired up a cigar and was pleasantly surprised at how effective it was at keeping them away from my face.
Fifteen minutes later they were back with a vengeance, and that's when I realized that my cigar had gone out and was no longer producing any smoke.
A minute or so after relighting it they once again dissipated, but the battle between myself and the insects continued in this fashion throughout the day.
Once the bugs were at bay, I tied on one of Bruiser's wogs, and after a cast or two I was on the board.
Neil and I spent the morning leapfrogging each other up the creek, fishing where Mike told us to fish while he dragged the boat behind us.
By 10:00 AM I'd hooked and fought five fish, but only managed to land two of them. Mike was shocked that I was getting all of my fish on Bruiser's wog.
Neil was fishing what looked like a pink deer hair mouse - one of his own creations - because he was trying to get a fish to eat on top.
After I'd landed my second fish, Mike walked over to Neil and said, "That fly isn't sinking. Let me tie on something else."
"I'm trying to get one to eat on top," Neil replied.
"How about you try that once you get three in the box?" said Mike.
Neil was not pleased.
And yet soon after Mike changed his fly, Neil finally hooked up.
Mike then took the opportunity to do a little fishing himself.
Several minutes later, something really big took the wog I was fishing, and as I was trying to get it on the reel it surged and snapped my leader.
Mike was fishing upstream, so I walked back to the boat and started rummaging through his bag, looking for a spool of fluorocarbon.
Neil came over and said, "What are you doing?"
"A big fish just snapped my leader," I said with a smile.
I rummaged a bit more, and when I found a spool of twenty pound Maxima, I held it up and said, "I'm just tying up a new one."
"Why don't you have him do it?" said Neil, gesturing upstream.
"I think I'm capable of tying my own goddamn leader," I replied. "Come on Neil, we do this shit all the time."
"I don't care. He's suppose to be our guide, and I don't like that he's fishing."
"Well what in the hell do you want him to do? The other day you told me you didn't like him standing behind you while you fished, so I took him aside and told him to leave you alone and to only help you if you asked."
"Why'd you tell him that?"
"Because I knew you wouldn't say anything to him, and I thought it might cheer you up. It doesn't bother me that he's fishing. Would you rather he just sit in the boat with his thumb up his ass?"
Neil was not pleased.
He made some grumbling noises, but said nothing.
I then held up the new leader and said, "All done."
I hooked and lost another fish or two, then buried my wog into a submerged stump and broke it off.
I then opened the fly box Bruiser had sent me and discovered that I only had one wog left.
I took it out and looked it over, but couldn't bring myself to fish it.
Instead I put it back in the box, tied on one of Bruiser's chartreuse streamers, made a few casts, and ...
This one I landed.
I had my three, and I was content.
I'd yet to catch anything on one of Bruiser's purple streamers, so I tied one of those on and fished it for most of the afternoon.
It prompted one follow but no fish, and when I broke it off on yet another stump, I decided to try one of the flies Neil had tied.
I hooked one nice fish with it, but because I already had my limit I threw some slack in the line once it was close to shore and let it throw the hook.
By now the tide was coming in, and Mike told us that we only had half an hour of fishing time left.
At this point I'd accomplished everything I'd hoped for, so I set up my little chair on the beach and watched Neil cast until it was time to head back.
The plovers showed us the way out.
I briefly nodded off on the way back to the lodge, and when I woke up I thought I was back in the delta.
When we returned to the lodge, I gave Neil first crack at the shower and then headed down to the deck with the last of my brandy.
Half an hour later a couple of the other guests came out and joined me, and I noticed that they were all drinking beer.
As far as I knew we were the only guests who'd brought in any alcohol, and the first thought to cross my mind was, "Maybe someone in our group gave them some beer, or maybe they recently asked the guy who does the shopping to buy them some."
I had no desire to interrogate them, so once I finished my drink I went upstairs and jumped in the shower.
After cleaning up, I went back out on the deck, and there was Neil.
He was not pleased.
"Did you give those guys some of our beer?" he asked.
"Because I talked to the guy who does the shopping, and he said we're the only guys who have asked him to buy beer, which means they're drinking our fucking beer!"
I then watched as one of the guests got up, walked over to the "Help Yourself" mini-fridge, and pulled out a beer.
I turned to Neil and said, "Did you put any beers in the 'Help Yourself' fridge?"
"Of course not. All of our beers are in the fridge down by the dock. Why?"
I motioned to the guest walking across the floor with a beer in his hand, and when Neil saw him he said, "That fucking Mike. That fucking guide Mike. He took the beers that were left in our cooler and put them in the 'Help Yourself' fridge. That motherfucker."
It was pretty obvious that Neil was not pleased.
He quickly jumped out of his chair, ran inside, and gathered up the few remaining beers left in the "Help Yourself" fridge and took them away.
When he came back, he said, "We're going to run out of beer."
"How can that be?"
"Rick and J have been throwing back a case of beer a day. We've two more days of fishing, and only two cases of beer left."
As it turns out, that wasn't our only problem.
We quickly went in search of Ken, the guy who did the shopping, and once we found him we all threw money at him and said, "We need more beer! We need more booze! Take whatever you want! Help us! Please, help us!"
He looked at us and said, "Well, I'm not scheduled to go back to town until Friday afternoon, and all of you will be gone by then, so... sorry."
Neil was not pleased.
When we returned to the deck, the owner was there waiting for us.
"I've been looking at the weather report, and they're predicting heavy fog tomorrow morning," he said.
"What does that mean?" replied Neil.
"It means you might not be flying out first thing. To be honest, you might not be flying out at all, but let's hope for the best. It's also time for dinner, so why don't you all come in and find a seat."
The guides always ate breakfast and dinner in the dining room with the guests.
The owner had scheduled Rob to be our guide on Lake Such and Such the following day, and it was while we were tucking into our pork roast dinner that Rob said, "So tomorrow: rig your rods with bobbers and beads, and expect to catch lots and lots of rainbows between fourteen and sixteen inches long."
I stopped eating long enough to look over at Neil, and I could tell that Neil was not pleased.
Neil then looked at Rob and said, "What about fishing dries?"
"Forget it," he replied. "All of the fish are on the egg bite now, and none of them are looking up."
After dinner we all went out on the deck.
Neil was the first to speak.
"So what do you guys want to do?"
"I'll tell you what I don't want to do," I replied. "I don't want to spend an extra two hundred bucks to throw bobbers and beads at sixteen inch rainbows."
Neil and the others in our group agreed.
"So what do you guys want to do?" he repeated.
"I wouldn't mind going back to that river where we caught all the silvers," I replied.
Neil went and talked to the owner about it, then came back and said, "He can arrange that, provided the weather holds, but it's a longer flight, and it'll cost us $400 apiece. Provided the fog lifts."
After some further discussion, we decided to cancel the fly- out altogether.
After the owner got off the phone with the pilot, he came to see us and said, "If it makes you feel any better, the pilot was glad you called it off, but now I need to figure out what to do with you tomorrow."
"I'd like to fish with Tim," Neil replied. "He seems like a good guide and a really nice guy."
"That's not going to happen," said the owner.
"Because he's my best guide, and I don't want him to quit."
Just then one of the guides came out and told the owner he had a phone call.
Once the owner left us, the four of us sat there, expressionless, until Rick suddenly yelled, "The flasks! Have any of you touched your flasks? I know mine is still pretty full because I've been drinking beer all day."
Neil and J said their flasks were still full as well, and so having solved our hard booze problem, we all immediately agreed that a celebratory cocktail was both appropriate and necessary.
I volunteered to get some more ice from the freezer, and as I did so I passed the whiteboard.
When I came back outside, I looked at Neil and said, "You lucky devil!"
"You're fishing with your favorite guide again tomorrow."
"Who! Mike? You're fucking shitting me!"
"The whiteboard does not lie."
Neil jumped out of his chair, went inside, and walked straight to the whiteboard.
When he came back outside, he sat down in his chair and refused to speak for the rest of the evening.
He was definitely not pleased.[/report]