Saturday, May 02, 2009

Opener 2009, Part 3: Dan the Man

Fishing with my brother is always fun and interesting because I like eccentrics, and Dan definitely fits that bill in his own way. Although he is my brother, he always manages to surprise me with one or another of his behavioral gems.

For example, this year: never mind talking to the man, because he's listening to some UFC podcasts on his mp3 player, even while we fish. I cannot count the number of times I had to repeat myself when addressing some observation to him, or asking him a question. In normal circumstances, this would provoke impatience, but I was amused enough to find it funny. It gets funnier every day, in retrospect, even though I struggle to understand how one so overtly and vociferously enamoured of wilderness should substitute the river's chatter and sweet morning birdsong, for droning voices recorded in mono. Such is eccentricity!

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we didn't get to fish much together this year. Although the fact that we only got to spend one morning, plying low, clear waters for only a pair of steelhead, might contribute to my sense of humour regarding Dan's podcasts, I wish we'd had more time together. The day I had planned for us on one of our eastern Ontario tributaries held all kinds of promise, but a flu (in one of my sons) prevented it.

Besides the fact that Dan is my brother, and we both enjoy and appreciate eachother's company, discussion and tastes in beer, I also relish observing his innate ability to catch fish, in action. I've always considered this ability to be far stronger in my brother than in myself, and watching Dan make minute and naturally sensible adjustments to his presentation over a few minutes or hours has always been a subject of keen interest for me. He does this whether he has been fishing for days on end, or whether he last fished a year ago. He seems to have some kind of radar which is not species dependent, but applies to all of them, and which guides him in his choices and his approach. I sometimes wonder if he has an unconscious "telepiscopathy," if he can actually read their minds...

Last year, when the previous day's rain forced us to fish for trout in what basically looked like mud, he was the only one who caught anything. This year, after I'd spent the first hour and a half after sunrise, plying a stingy stream, he appeared late as usual and picked up a steelhead on his first drift. It was all very casual, although it probably surprised him, if not myself.

After so many years, I pretty much expect it!


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