The first sign I was dealing with something different was the gear that poured out of their Pathfinder. The sheer volume of gear was, uh, really up there. They had bags, they had coolers, they had boots, they had waders. And more bags. And rods, and more bags, and beer and power bars and sodas and more…well, bags! And there were the plastic cases of flies. Stacks of ‘em. And that bulletproof camera case. And a few more 12-packs. And bags of snickers bars, and the steaks and the sliced roast beef, loaves of bread, potato salad…. Oh, and more bags.
I started to worry. It looked like they were moving in (I had to check the schedule; I was freaking; jeez, maybe they are moving in?!).
Funny thing was that for all the supplies, and then for all the weather mother nature threw at them (rain, thunder, lightning, wind, and even hail!) over their six days here, I hardly saw these guys. The word devoted fishermen doesn’t describe Rich, Bobby and Jess.
Long-time friends, they were here for the angling, for the grilling, and for the fun. And they had plenty of everything.
Then I saw something few on the Smith have seen. A successful hook-up and landing of a massive Smith River steelhead. On a fly. Rich tallied the win and Bobby caught it on video. Jess also hooked a steelie but lost it close to the shore.
Amazing dedication from a crew who tied flies, walked, talked and probably dreamed of steelhead, these guys epitomized the avid sportfisherman. I was in awe.
And the video of that catch? A mesmerizing three minutes I must have watched now for over an hour (note, these are catch and release sportsmen).
They came for steelhead — with rods, waders and nothing more than a reel, line, and fly — and really did it. Wow.