The fall arrived with teaching, and getting the next Great Owens Valley Adventure in order. Days on the river became extra-enjoyable, however, as the Non-Tweeded One indulged a long-suppressed wish—he became a Pseudo-Guide. In September, he took Mrs. P and their dear friends Duckster and Dr. Duck (Dr. D for short) along as newbies. They had taken the LL Bean course and heard tales, studied books, and now were ready—and began, appropriately enough, in the O-Dark Thirty of mid Maine:
Mrs. P was tough and experienced; Duckster sandbagged, as it is known in the fishing game, inflating his imagined catch so excessively that he secretly guaranteed protection against the skunk, should it occur. Dr. D. was the voice of realism, which the lodgings, in a not excessively developed part of Maine (to understate the case) exceeded. Instructions were given over beers on the log-hewn coffee table in the a-frame the night before, and you can see this team had fire in their eyes.
Getting to the river was not un-tricky, and the Fishing Prof advised careful footing. But The Duckster would not be denied, and foraged forward through bucket, eddy, and drift:
And the sandbagging—Exactly That! In fact, a bucket loader filling ten gallon sandbags piled the length of the Sacramento River could not have suggested how much Duck Fat was involved. I set him up with a black ghost streamer—reliable for this river in September, and after hearing a few of those “that couldn’t be a fish” that newbies pronounce when a fish is on the line, I left the Duckster in the capable hands of Mrs. P. And after a few more false casts in the original sense of the word, The Duckster was hooked up big! And with the more than capable Mrs. P at his side!
Well, you could do a lot worse than have Mrs. P as your wing-woman with net-in-hand, and it wasn’t long before Duck Man was displaying his first fish on a fly road—a very nice sixteen-inch landlocked salmon:
In the meantime, Mrs. P was doing her own damage, by landing some beautiful Maine brook trout:
This “little” brook trout, like Duckster’s landlocked salmon on the left: and notice the professional way he holds the fish before release–would have been enough to make the most experienced fly caster happy. Dr. D also had her chances at the infamous “behind the rock” fish, whom she managed to hook and unhook several times –he’s a wily old codger. Guess I better to back to guide school! Many fish were caught, lies were told, and in the end, the Fishing P and his tolerant (P)artner chalked up another fishy tale to tell—which is a lot of the point, you’ll have to admit: