Our First “Boat Day”

As featured in our June 22nd Newsletter – Subscribe Here

Grass roots, organic, home grown. These are all terms to describe a myriad of different things from vegetables and food to political ideology. Terms seemingly overused to inspire health, thought and originality. But there is real value in these terms when it comes to Guys Fishing Weekend.

My wife will tell you that my ENFP personality is big on authenticity. My core values as a Dolphin (her chosen profession helps people understand their core values) requires me to seek value in the things that I do, and authenticity is at the forefront. I can deal with shit that isn’t authentic if I see the value in it.

But, if something brings value with its authenticity? Hellz YES!

To say GFW started as an incredibly deep and meaningful weekend would be like saying the first time I went fly fishing was a spiritual experience. It wasn’t. I probably snapped off a dozen flies, untangled more than a dozen knots, and spent 95% of my time “on the water” tending to previously said problems. You’d think the other 5% of my time was spent catching fish.


I spent that minuscule sliver of time beating the shit out of the water, scaring the crap out of any fish around, along with any other wildlife in the area, while trying to figure out how to cast. The point is, I took time to develop as a fisherman, as did GFW as a soul feeding experience. Our maiden GFW weekend was just a getaway.

The first trip took three friends to the beautiful playground of Granby, Colorado in 1996! The whole thing started from an idea my good friend Joe had read about in a men’s magazine. At the time, I had a lot of shit going on in my life and was an easy “yes” to commit to a weekend fishing trip. Our other buddy, Bake worked his magic with work, and off we went.

We ended up in a condo near some tiny ski resort, about a half hour drive from Grand Lake. The idea was that we would spend one day on the lake, renting a boat to explore different spots. The other day of our trip would be spent fishing the Colorado River. Now, I don’t remember a lot of the small details, like the name of the place we stayed or the marina where we rented the boat. I don’t remember the food we ate or where I slept. But the thing I remember most from that trip almost 30 years ago is the story of an event that has been shared several times through the years, the richness of which only an authentic experience can bring.

We call it “Boat Day.”

The three of us were sitting in a skiff, fully equipped with a weak outboard motor. It had enough power to get us across the lake; however, when the time came to head back to the marina, the wind had picked up, creating some nice whitecaps. We barely made it back to the marina, steering this slow ass boat directly into the wind so we didn’t capsize.

Our first spot found us sitting in a sweet little calm cove, seemingly only reachable by boat. I was fishing my brand new Fenwick spin rod, while Bake and Joe were rigging up there own rods. Joe was the most experienced spin fisherman of the three of us. At that point, I hadn’t fished a whole bunch. And most of the fishing I had done was with a fly rod, which was in its tube in the bottom of the boat. Bake was easily the worst fisherman of the three of us, golf being his true joy.

Now, I’m not sure I can capture the scene in writing, but the memory is so engrained it seems like it happened yesterday. We all tied lures onto the end of our lines in giddy anticipation of catching some fish. The spot seemed perfect, calm and quiet. Bake pulled the bail of his reel over, hooked the line in his finger, wound up and let it fly…

All we heard was “snap,” the cool sound of a trout lure sailing through the air, followed by a “thump” as the lure landed on the solid ground of the shore on the other side of the cove. Bake with out missing a beat says, “Joe, can I have another lure?” After we caught our breath after laughing so hard, Joe gave Bake another lure. This proceeded to happen at least another half dozen times over the course of the next couple of hours.

As Bake continued his assault on Joe’s lure collection, the conversation turned to a possible problem with Bake’s fishing line. How old was it? What the hell was happening? After some deep discussion and a few insults to Bake’s fishing skills, he says, “Let me try your pole, Reid. It’s brand new.” Of course, I did what any good friend would do. I gave him my brand new rod and reel, bought a week earlier in anticipation of this fun filled weekend.

Bake pulled over the bail, hooked the line in his finger, wound up, and let it fly…

What we heard this time was a different “snap,” followed by a metallic “thud” and a small splash right next to the boat. Bake looked at my rod with a dumbfounded expression; there was no reel attached to it any longer and no line running through it. WTF? Somehow, my reel came loose of its moorings, hit the side of the boat, and ended up in the water.

After a few exchanges with some colorful language mixed in, followed by more laughter and my new reel now on the bottom of Grand Lake, I was left to fish from a boat with my fly rod, while Bake went back to his great grandfather’s ‘first’ rod and lost more of Joe’s lures. As it turned out, I would be the only one who caught a fish that day. A little stocker rainbow caught on a black Wooly Bugger near the dock when we were heading in to return the boat.

The best part about this hilarious “Three Stooges Go Fishing” experience is that as I relive it and try to capture it in writing, I have tears running down from face from laughter. These are the moments we remember and talk about often, years after they happen. Shared moments with friends create the stories we tell over and over again. These experiences bring value to our relationships.

Authenticity and value, baby!!

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