Extinction of the Trout Bum
Ed Note: 2nd year shop staffer Peter with todays blog post. We love it. If you follow the progression of both John and Mark it includes many nights, weeks, months in tents, pickup beds, sleeping bags on the shore, small paychecks, riverside fly tying sessions, constant fly rod fantasies, and the understanding of ones own passion that brought us to this very point today. A potential employer once asked me about my qualifications for the job and I said “I’ve been preparing everyday of my life, for today.” And I meant it. That is where we see fellers like Peter headed. He’s preparing, practicing, fishing, evolving daily for the next day, the next fish, the next rise form, the next cast. That is how trout bums roll. And we applaud them.
We have all looked forward to the warmer months, when we can finally trade our down jackets for dry flies, put away the waders and breakout the flip flops. When I first heard about the possible pandemic back in March, one of my first concerns was will I be able to return to the MO?
A question not taken lightly by people who prioritize trout as highly as anglers do in Craig Montana. Just the thought of not being able to fish puts the fear of god into a true trout bums heart. For those of you who dream of grasshoppers bouncing off your forehead, mayflies posing on your nose, and caddis flies in your underwear, I exclaim this from the top of Spite Hill…
Summer vacation is not cancelled!
The bugs will still hatch. The fish will still rise. But the times they are a changing, and this summer is going to be a little different.
While a party float may not be your ideal choice for following social distancing guidelines, a trout bum can really take advantage of this situation. The ebb and flow of anglers does not fit the traditional spring mold. No, not at all.
We have seen an unpredictable fusion of people coming to visit the Missouri River corridor this past month/week. One day there could be full parking lot worth of cars at the boat ramp. The next, there may only one be one truck and trailer combo. The irregularity of angling days gives an advantage to the long term resident angling car camping trout bum. When you don’t know what the next day will hold, it is best to hold tight see what the next day will bring. It could get good.
If I have learned anything from my time on the Missouri, it could be proving the age old fishing theory of “You should have been here yesterday”.
The thing about social media is that when you see it, it is already water under the bridge. Old news. It has already happened. Fishing in the moment is what the modern trout bum is all about. It is the drive, the energy source, that makes everyday the best day.
When the angling pressure is low and the fish are happy, you may not find a Facebook post about it. You just got to be on the water. Any day now we will be back to the regularly scheduled program of BWO’s,PMD’s, Midges, March Brown’s, Caddis, and so forth.
You don’t want to be on your couch when the bugs pop.
Wouldn’t you rather be waking from a shore nap, rising from your slumber, only to look out and see an exodus of mayflies quietly emerging from the water?
All this being said we can’t just drop the Covid Gloves completely, there is still a major pandemic looming. Kindness is key, giving people the distance and patience they deserve, from fly shop interactions to etiquette on the river, we are all in the same boat, Be nice people.
Overall I see a new emergence of the young hard core trout fisherman, in it only for the fun, for the lifestyle, for the solitude, for the comraderie, for the experience. No excuses.
If trout are your thing, look at the silver lining, seize the opportunity that Covid has brought you. Go sleep in the back of your truck for a while, you may find the fish of a lifetime. You may find your life path. You may find an improved dry fly cast. You may find inner peace.
The trout bum is not dead.
While it seems that there may be fewer actual trout bums parked on the side of the river playing cards til the hatch comes off, they are still out there. If you want to pursue this avenue to trout happiness I encourage you to seize the moment and do it!
Be smart, have fun, and stay fishy. Hope to see you on the water.
-Peter. Your Local Shop Rat