[report]This story continues by looking back to the beginning of my personal pursuit for trout in south central Montana. Although my hometown didn't lend itself to clear and cold streams needed to sustain healthy trout populations, many were less than an hour away. The mountains surrounding the Magic City offered many options in any direction except east. The Beartoooth Mountains, Absaroka range and the Crazies hosted numerous rivers and small creeks filled with rainbows, browns and brook trout, these areas eventually became my personal playground.
By the age of fifteen I was free to roam in my 69' Ford pickup traveling almost weekly to new destinations and gaining access to private property, rather than state accesses. My friends always said, the only person with more access was God, and they were right. I prided myself on gaining the respect of both ranchers and farmers and became close friends with many of them. So much so that many invited me to dinner in their homes and to weddings of their children. Each outing consisted in making a phone call to ask if they needed anything from the big city and at the very least a quick stop to say thank you. I was envious of their way of life, living in wide open spaces and the smells of the passing seasons.
My grandfather Rudy, provided the inspiration for both fishing and hunting during summer visits to my birth place of Butte, Montana. A miner and steel fabricator by trade, he was a individual of strong conviction and attitude of self reliance. The memories and experiences still remain with treks up Pipestone Pass in a 54' Willy's short box jeep and I can still remember the straining sound of the transmission as it crept up the steep passes, then descending quickly as it eclipsed the continental divide. One of his favorite destinations was the Big Hole river near the canyon stretch where fishing was not as much about fishing but chasing my grandfather, in his red ball hip-waders, up and down the river. The smell of fresh venison burgers and grilled onions always tasted better under the cover of towering cottonwoods and the sounds of the river passing near bye. Although he passed away at an early age, he left me filled with the thoughts of wild places and the treasures they held. His knowledge and passion for the outdoors is what still drives me to go to places without roads and trails, in search of fish.
I began tying flies in the basement of my childhood home with a Dan Bailey's starter kit and boxes of Mustad hooks, packaged in small drawer cardboard boxes. Although I had no idea of what or how to tie, I found by purchasing one pattern along with the necessary materials, I could recreate the patterns with some success.
My struggles were lessened when I later met Bob Walton, owner of Walton's flies, who I attribute to learning the art of tying. Although Bob was a cussing crude bastard, he could tie the finest dries, streamers and nymphs and the unforeseen benefits of expanding my personal vocabulary to an adult level only exceeded by military drill Sargent. Within weeks, I was tying in the backroom of his shop and tying patterns like Renegades, Bitchcreek nymphs, mosquitoes and dozens of other traditional trout patterns. Good times for a thirteen year old, so much for child labor laws.
to be continued................[/report]
The difference between sentiment and being sentimental is the following: Sentiment is when a driver swerves out of the way to avoid hitting a rabbit on the road. Being sentimental is when the same driver, when swerving away from the rabbit, hits a pedestrian.