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Fly Fishing Dates: A brief history from a heartbroken Bushwhacker

Fly Fishing Dates: A brief history from a heartbroken Bushwhacker

My girlfriend is the best! She loves to fly fish. We go together every weekend. She packs us lunches and picks the driving playlist…tons of Tragically Hip and Bob Dylan! We talk strategy on the drive out; what flies to start the day off with, what areas of the river she wants to work first, etc…  The best part is that she is good! She can sometimes outfish me. At the end of the day we usually sit beside the river and drink beers and watch the sunset and laugh, joke and reminisce about the day we had on the river.

What a catch she is. Can you believe how lucky I am?

NO, of course you can’t.

I am single…

If anybody out there has a girlfriend like this please marry her. You are a lucky man.

lisa
Lisa was never able to actually catch a fish, despite numerous attempts… I think she had fun though.

Although the girl described above is not real, she exists in my dreams. And in the dreams of many fellow bushwhackers out there.

The dream of a girlfriend who doesn’t frown and say “I thought we had plans to go to the Japanese gardens with Sarah and Jim this Saturday?” when you bring up your plans to go fishing on the weekend. Alas, that is all those plans will ever be: a dream. 

So as I stumble my way through the world of women, I have sought to shape, slowly but surely, my romantic partners into romantic fishing partners. TO NO AVAIL WHATSOEVER.

nicole
My highschool girlfriend after catching her first Bass…not wanting to touch it

It became abundantly clear on my most recent “fishing date”  that this may be a futile endeavour and maybe there is some higher power working against me on this one.

Enter Victoria. I met Victoria in April of this year at my buddy’s birthday. Since then we have gotten to know each other and slowly started going on dates more frequently. She is adventurous at heart, keen to try new things and generally outdoorsy. This summer I figured it was time to get a fly rod in her hands.

So I planned a secret fishing excursion. Secret in the way that it was framed as “we were going hike to a waterfall” and on the drive back there just happened to be a great lake to watch the sunset at. She didn’t know there would be fishing involved until well into the date, and the “Oh look at all the fish jumping on the lake!” moment when I very convieneintly happened to have two rods in my trunk…

Boom! rods out and ready to go!

She was hesitant.  

“Well the last time I fished I was really young and well….” she trailed off.

“What? Tell me, I feel like there is a story there” I said

“Well, I was fishing for trout in the Yukon (she used to live there) and on one of my first casts I threw I snagged my knee and got all three of the barbed hooks on the spinner stuck deep in there…” as she pointed to a nasty looking scar just above her knee. “I had to go to the clinic and they had to freeze it to remove the hooks!”

Geez, well, not the warm, receptive welcome I was hoping for.  

“Don’t worry” I promised her, “I have been fly fishing for a loooong time and I have never hooked a human, only fish! It will be fun!”

And it was fun. The fish were biting… they were small but biting at least. We pulled a little rainbow out and watched it flop around before tossing it back in that peaceful lake high fiving each other. I was teaching her to cast, standing behind her one arm around her waist the other gently guiding her hand back and forth. Sun setting over a calm lake. SUPER FUCKIN ROMANTIC.

All of the sudden a huge fish jumped right near us. Instinct kicked in. No more arm around the waist, no more gentle guiding. “This one is mine” I said probably far too aggressively as I grabbed the rod out of her hands.

As I quickly walked along the shore to the proximate area of the rise. I crossed my casting arm over to the other side of my body to do a few backhand false casts to dry the fly off… well mostly to show off my skills actually. After a few of these false casts. I turned to look at Victoria as if to say “Watch me catch this monster” As I was turning my head I felt a sharp tug along my jawline, followed by a sharp pain…. I wasn’t sure what happened. I locked eyes with Victoria and watched her face turn to horror.

I had a barbed size 14 Royal Wulff embedded in my face.

This is how I found myself sitting in the front seat of my car examining the damage in my rear view mirror with Victoria sitting beside me watching with a sort of fascinated horror as I tried to decide the best way to approach this problem.

Now, I know, there is a proper way to take a barbed hook out of skin (and fish for that matter) without causing much damage or pain. When you actually have a fucking hook in your face, you don’t think about that. That is why I made the decision to just pull on it as hard as I could until it came out… With a lot of grunting and yelling from me and a bit of screaming from Victoria I twisted pulled, tugged and yanked at that little fly. It was super painful. Finally, with one final big pull the fly popped out. Victoria screamed… so did I.

So, with that… Our romantic sunset fishing date concluded.

We drove back into town on the dusty logging road. As I dropped her off, I apologized to her that she had to witness that. She apologized to me claiming that she was cursed; 2/2 when it comes to catching humans. But she smiled at me and said. “I think you’re quite the catch”

We ended things a few days later… But feel no pity for me. The sushi dates were no longer cutting it. And the fish, well they were still out there, waiting for me to compromise my love life.

I learned a few things from this experience:

  1. Sucks to be a fish…. I am deffs switching to only barbless
  2. I don’t think Victoria will be engaging in any more fishing adventures, at least not for a a little while.
  3. Don’t steal a rod from someone’s hands; karma is a bitch
  4. Maybe you can’t force it so much; let your partner see the passion that you have for this beautiful pursuit and let that rub off on them. And if it doesn’t, oh well, you might be grateful for the alone time.

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Hope y’all enjoyed! It was a good summer of bushwhackin’ enjoy the snow and maybe a little ice fishin’. Til Next time.

MR

Welcome to the Society of Uncompromising Anglers

Welcome to the Society of Uncompromising Anglers

I remember being a young child of maybe 10 or 11, trekking through the thick brush near the bank of a small trout stream in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, with my Dad, my Brother, and a small spin-rod in my hand. We had just caught endless tiny brook trout in a small pond that I will always remember. My father thought he would challenge us with some moving water, and although I now forget the name of that stream, I will forever remember that afternoon, and the thick, impenetrable brush of the British Columbia Wilderness. It was miserable. All I wanted was to go back to the pond beside the highway, where I could cast, walk around, and catch fish. Where I could breathe without inhaling bugs. Where the sun made it through the canopy, and branches didn’t get flung back at my face every couple of steps. It felt like we would never reach the creek, and soon enough I began to complain like the little boy that I was. “Dad. What are we even doing? We are never going to reach the Creek.” My father looked at me with a grin…

“Son, this here is called Bushwhacking, and if you ever want to be a real fisherman, you better learn to love it.”

Fast forward 10 years and I guess I did learn to love it. Now, I am the one dragging my old-man out into the the middle of the backwoods, with him trailing in pursuit, hacking through the trees and wondering where the hell I am taking him. Ahh… The sweet feeling of payback.

Want to be a Bushwhacker?

The requirements are simple; all you need is a fly rod, a thirst for adventure, and a passion for fishing. And maybe an indifference towards aching blisters and ticks. 

Our blog will pass the waning hours of your work-week perfectly. It will inspire you to get out fishing and explore the endless abyss of the western Canadian forestry roads. It will offer the sarcastic, over-cynical musings of a broke, under-equipped, sometimes delusional fly-fisherman (thats me!) who is just starting to figure it all out. It will also have content posted by you, the readers and other members of our network, in case you get tired of me. All of our contributors from across Alberta and BC will keep you updated on the conditions on our major rivers with our bi-weekly river updates and trip reports. Follow us on facebook and instagram and share your stories and photos with each other, meet new people, and stay updated on giveaways and events (im thinking a fish-a-thon!).

Read about some of the hidden treasures found in our drainages in the Bushwhackers Bounty contained in each section of Where we Fish. The point of our site is not to giveaway all the secrets that have accumulated over generations of anglers, nor is it to take you to the honey hole of each stream. That would defeat the purpose. As anglers we guard our secrets out of necessity, out of
fear of another ruining our perfection.

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But we don’t have to fear our own kind; the truth is, there is plenty of water for all of us. You just have to go find it.

Fly-fishing for the Glory

There is nothing glorious about Bushwhacking your way through nasty wilderness. There is, however, something glorious about watching a fish come up to the surface and sip your dry fly. Something that makes you appreciate the natural world, and the connection you have with it through that fish. The harder we work for our fish, the more we appreciate them. The more we immerse ourselves into their environment, the more we come to understand our relationship with it.

The monster fish truly deserves to be captured, and reveled in, shared with friends. But its the story behind that fish that is truly important in our minds. The story behind every fish; the big ones, the small ones, the ugly ones. The stories of the people who share the passion for catching  fish on the fly. Why it matters that we earn our fish, and respect our waters. And the simple truth of this sport is that sometimes, you don’t catch the big one; sometimes you don’t catch anything at all. These are the days where when this sport can truly teach us a thing or two, if we are willing to learn.

Today, more and more people are fishing. The Rivers that my Father grew up fishing are now clogged with Anglers young and old, all searching for that connection, for that moment of exhilaration, and for the next instagram photo. The Fly-Fishing community is bigger than it has ever been, and it seems as though social media has become a boasting board for who can catchIMG_20150621_104530 the biggest fish. One might almost begin to think its EASY to catch monster trout like that, given the amount of photos that pop up on my instagram feed. Well, at Bushwhackers, we know that it’s not easy. And we also know that if you are going out onto the river strictly to catch an instagram photo, then you are probably not doing it for the right reasons.

We believe fly-fishing is not about personal glory; its about the glory of the world around us. And that is what we live by at Bushwhackers.

Our goal is to remind people that one never has to feel claustrophobic when fishing our waters; there is literally endless backcountry for one to explore, where one is unlikely to see another angler. And getting out there is usually half of the fun. We want to help you find the next place that you will fall in love with, and then you can cherish that spot as your own.

We want to inspire you to go and find, and earn, your own perfection.

Because that is what it means to be a Bushwhacker.

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