The saying goes, "A bad day of fishing is better than a good day doing anything else." Hmmmm. I think this is true only 99.5% of the time, as proven by a recent experience on my beloved North Fork of the Flathead in Northwest Montana. It wasn't THAT bad...only half-a-percentage bad. But that half-percentage will be hard to forget.
I started the day excited to shoot an episode of Trout TV with Glacier Raft Company on my home river. The North Fork is the western boundary to my stomping grounds, Glacier National Park. I know how to fish this river. Well, it's an easy river to fish. It's beautiful, clear and full of native Westslope Cutthroat trout that aren't too picky or spooky. I generally know which bugs to use and how to present them, since I guided fishing trips at GRC many years ago on the North Fork, and I still fish there often. I felt confident that we'd come away with an amazing episode. Plus, my friend and GRC veteran Marc Evans was our guide. He's among the very best in the biz, and is the most requested guide at the Company. So I knew he'd get us into fish and help me iron out the many crimps in my angling ability along the way.
That's what getting cocky gets ya.
A half-mile into our day, I boated a gorgeous 17" cutbow--the nicest fish I've caught on that stretch in awhile. I don't have any still pictures, because the biggest beauties are reserved strictly for video. Shortly afterward, Marc got me into a fat 15" cutty. Great start.
Then I missed a lunker.
Then I missed a LUNKER.
Then I caught no fewer than 45 8" cutbows.
Then I ate nine Nutter Butters and drank a Miller Lite.
Then I caught a bunch of whitefish--considered trashfish in our area.
Then I set the hook on what I thought was a fatty and ended up yanking a four-inch cutty up out of the water, over the boat and onto the other bank. I rescued the wee flying fish, jumped back into the boat and proceeded to whack a Batman Nymph on the rod in a frenzied back cast.
Then I BROKE one of Marc's shiny Winston rods in what can only be classified as a terrible quagmire of ego-shredding errors.
Then it got windy. Not tourist-fisherman windy, but legit windy. 30-mile-per-hour steady winds and even harder gusts made it impossible to get any good sound out of our microphones.
I kept casting. And despite the beefiest doublehaul I could muster, I tangled droppers. I over-mended. I under-mended. I sucked.
At one point Marc said, "Um, Hil, what can I do to get that look off your face?" I said, "Um, tell Trout TV to hire a host who can fish."
I'm definitely not the meltdown type. I've always felt privileged and grateful just to be on the water and fish. I swear I'm not a negative person, a whiner or fit-thrower. And I don't' think I'm a river diva... But that day, for just a moment, with my arm twitching as I threw as hard as I could through the angry wind, I remember pouting, a bad day doing anything else would be better than this day of fishing.
We rescheduled the shoot. We're going back to the North Fork later this month.
It will be another day. A super day. A day that will hopefully cancel out the stinkin' half-a-percentage that briefly ruined the old adage.
But I'm going to bring extra Nutter Butters and Miller Lite just in case.