We stayed up late again last night but it didn’t slow us down an iota. Nine of us sucked down coffees at 6 AM while organizing our gear for the next part of our trip. We were headed for the Ranch on the Henry’s Fork to celebrate my 50th all weekend.
At 8 AM we left the house and after a quick photo stop at the famous Pillsbury silo we arrived at the Last Chance parking lot before 10. Several more pals were here including Scott Sanchez, Sammy Vigneri, Derek Mitchell and Greg Gaddis, all whom I worked with in the fly shop back in 80’s. If you added these guys with my college pals and local friends there were fifteen of us at this point. I’m a lucky guy to have so many great friends to come celebrate with me.
There was no doubt fishing was secondary to catching up amongst friends. I’ve seen most of these guys within the last five years but many of them haven’t seen each other in over twenty years. Naturally the beers and chatter was flowing and I started drawing trout in the dust of cars in my new Cubs shirt the guys gave me. It took us almost till noon to get wadered up and ready to begin the walk into the Ranch.
For the third day straight the weather was insanely summery. Today the temps touched the low 70°s. There was no wind and there were few bugs on the water. Evidently while we were assembling in the Last Chance parking lot in the morning some Trico’s trickled off and a few big fish rose. In fact when we first went out I came across two different big fish. I managed to fool each with a micro size 22 Parachute Adams but I’m sorry to say I missed both. The second was a true monster and when he blew up his spook-splash nearly sprayed me!
The slow fishing but exceptionally nice weather led us all too frequent stops along the grassy banks of the Ranch for beer and cigar breaks. In a sick way lousy fishing was what I was hoping for. This weekend is really about visiting with my best friends whom I don’t see enough these days. This is me and Howie my college roommate.
On occasion we’d find that random riser. All of the ones I found were by Ranch standards too small to bother with. But I finally gave in and plucked a few little guys off just for fun. Honestly, the small ones are tough also and after missing the big dudes earlier the practice won’t hurt a bit.
Over the years, especially on my annual “Henry’s Fork Marathon” (today was this years), there have been many times where a dozen of us settled in a nice spot for beers, cigars and good stories. Today may qualify as the finest bank party of all. We sat in one place for over two hours and carried on reminiscing about the good times we’ve had together. Incredibly, a big fish rose a few times in front of us and not one of us got up to try for him. As strange as this may sound, no one wanted to miss a minute amongst the best of friends.
Everyone cast to a few more fish throughout the afternoon and evening. A few clouds rolled in at sunset making for the usual spectacular Henry’s Fork sunset. We’re finally expecting some weather to arrive and perhaps tomorrows fishing will give us excellent hatches and hungry monster rainbows.
I cranked up the Cubs Game One playoff with the Mets at the parking lot while waiting for the true diehards to return. From there we headed up to the TroutHunter. If you ever want to have a fishing party I highly recommend doing it at TroutHunter. It’s conveniently located on the Henry’s Fork and has everything you could need.
We rented eleven TroutHunter rooms, ate like kings and they kept the bar open for us way longer than we needed to be there. But I’m glad they did because this weekend will go by fast and this way less time will be wasted sleeping. When the clock struck 12 I officially turned 50. I think we were winding down about then but naturally the official birthday date energized us back up. We’ll see how fishing later today goes. The Henry’s Fork Ranch requires you’re game face and I’m not so sure many of us will have that in a few hours!