Ever wonder what it would be like to find someone just like you, who liked fishing for the very same reasons? I shudder at the thought that someone like me is out there, somewhere. And I definitely wouldn't want him as a fishing buddy.
He'd be too set in his ways for my liking. He wouldn't go ice fishing if the wind velocity was more than 2 miles per hour, or if the temperature was colder than 30 degrees. He'd back-bounce for Kenai River kings, but back-troll only under protest. He'd be persnickety about halibut fishing, limiting it to drift jigging with 30-pound gear in no more than 125 feet of water in July.
With 70 years of dashed expectations behind him, he'd have a "why I can't go" excuse for every iffy-sounding invitation. He wouldn't want to go halibut fishing in April because "it's too early," or "it's too windy" or because "I haven't eaten the halibut I caught last July." If pushed, he might say, "Sorry, but that's the day I always simonize the inside of the toilet tank." Calling him would be just asking for rejection, and who needs that?
Don't ask him to go trout fishing on the upper Kenai River. Most people will pay to go, but this guy would decline a free trip. He wouldn't spoil your fun by telling you this, but his reason for not going is that he doesn't enjoy competing for elbow room on gravel bars with every yahoo who can come up with $1,000 for a pontoon boat, just to catch and release rainbows. On the other hand, he likes to fish the upper Kenai in far more crowded conditions, provided it's for sockeye salmon, which he can kill and eat.
You'd think he'd like dip-netting for reds on the lower Kenai, where he could net 25 in a few hours and have it done with, but no, he tried that and didn't like it. "There's a lot more to fishing than scooping up fish with a net," he'd say.
Being like me, he'd be thrifty. He doesn't even own a boat or pickup truck. Just look at what people like him are doing to the economy.
He'd be curmudgeonly to a fault. That's all I need, another contentious codger taking up space on the river bank, doing the "Kenai Sidestep" into my fishing spot.
I hope I never run into this guy. Instead of a work in progress, he'd be a real piece of work.
Les Palmer lives in Sterling.
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