fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

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catching up

I’ve been remiss in posting. But I’ll claim the excuse that it’s easier to get into the swing of a quick vacation than it is to get back into the swing of everyday life.

The previous post hints at the end of my visit last week to the Evergreen State. It was a good visit that began on the previous Friday. The wife and I dropped the last kid off at school and barreled down the highway to Oakland International…expecting traffic but instead arriving with plenty o’ time to read the newspaper.

Maybe it’s a sign of the times: our flight was at 70-80% occupancy. The two of us shared three seats. A little turbulence was followed by the always surprising decent to Sea-Tac. This flight was an experiment of sorts for me. It was the first time I hauled my fishing gear through the air.

Voula's Offshore Cafe

Voula’s Offshore Cafe

Mom & Dad’s Taxi Service picked us up. Next stop: Voula’s Offshore Café.

After seeing it on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” we volunteered a late lunch at Voula’s on the way home. Nothing like breakfast for lunch. My dad went for one of the hobo scrambles, mom for the salmon scramble and the wife a plate of biscuits and gravy. I opted for the amazing and very savory Eggs Benedict, made with pork smoked on the premises and chipotle hollandaise.

Once in Duvall we met my cousin Bill and his wife Laura, for the first time, then tried to walk off some of Voula’s excellent chow with some dog walking. The weather was good, but before I left we’d experience everything from sunshine to hail and downpours.

Saturday was the manufactured excuse reason for our visit. Though I lived there for a short nine months I missed out on the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival and during the summer decided it was about time I got up there to see what it’s all about. The day was full of drizzle as well as fun in the sights and sounds. Just your normal festival with craft booths and monstrous salmon plowing up the nearby creek. The Issaquah State Salmon Hatchery is a great facility that speaks to the success of a grass-roots effort. That evening my brother and his family invited all of us over for dinner and entertainment (provided by my two nephews, Levi and Kaden).

Sunday started with mass at my parents’ parish, followed by a breakfast spread that apparently only comes out when visitors descend on the house. I swear my dad was missing the usual morning meal composed of twigs and pebbles. After another visit with the nephews and their mom, it was off for an early dinner with mom, dad, the nephews, my sister-in-law and my cousin and his wife, before delivering the wife to the airport.

Monday saw me on the forks of the Snoqualmie River with fly rod in hand. Unfortunately, the upper reaches of the South Fork of the Snoqualmie were a little bigger than I envisioned. I flogged the water best I could…may have had only one take…but not a fish to hand. Spending a day on the water is always good, and I was treated to sporadic sunshine near Snoqualmie Pass and drizzle further down the hill on the North Fork. After stumbling upon a couple of camouflaged gentled carrying rifles, it was time to call it day.

Tuesday and Wednesday were typical of the best types of vacation days…days without any plan and composed of reading the newspaper, running into town for a turn signal bulb, visiting with a gentlemen who repairs microscopes and refractometers and hanging with the bro’. And as you know, getting a rather unique ride to the airport.

P.S. I haven’t processed the pictures yet…I’ll put ’em up soon…probably in a separate post.

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reflection on a summer of firsts

Summer’s official end — not the one marked on the calendar — came crashing down this morning with the standard fall overcast and threat of rain.

I’m relieved that our Indigenous Summer was short lived, giving way to crisp autumn air, fresh pressed apple cider and that last hustle to any water high enough to keep trout on the pre-winter feedbag. Things have been busy on the fishing front this trout season, with a lot of firsts.

Tied my first flies. Caught the first fish with one of them flies. Landed my first brown since picking up fly fishing in earnest. The first group fishing trip organized by yours truly came off well. (My strategy counted on keeping everyone stuffed with good food in the event fishing was poor. Got lucky. It wasn’t.)

And I made a first attempt at mentoring a gentleman considering joining the sport. The downside is that he’ll now have to unlearn the bad habits I taught him.

In a month I’ll inaugurate the first of hopefully many end-of-season visits to the cabin to do the last bit of trout fishing before the mid November close. I’m trying my level best to balance the need desire to remove myself from the world via fly fishing with daily commitments and responsibilities, but dates in my mind increasingly are filtered by the opening days of various rivers or Sierra Nevada passes. The wife already knows that any suggestion of travel prompts my immediate inquiry about the inclusion of a fishing day.

Leaving tomorrow for the Seattle area will mean visiting family, gazing slack-jawed at spawning salmon and probably tip toeing between raindrops. And like fly fishing, planning and anticipation is half the fun.

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salmon, salmon everywhere but no fly to cast

Finally following through with a self-made promise of many moons ago. This Saturday the wife and I will be surrounded by Chinook, Sockeye and Coho salmon swimming upstream to soon be relieved of their milt and eggs…and salmon and beef barbecue, Cajun blackened salmon, smoked salmon as well as salmon-logoed clothing and salmon-themed crafts.  Issaquah Salmon Days here we come. 

Almost like leaving Northern California’s salmon desert for the land of milk and honey and plenty o’ salmon.

And the debate still rages within whether to haul the fly fishing gear through the airport of a single day of whipping local waters.