Rigging Up

There are little moments in every fishing trip with buddies that are special. Many of them are taken for granted. The car rides, where many of the best conversations are had. The snack breaks on the side of the river. The hike in to the spot. And in some cases the camping on the way to the spot.

But rigging up is its own unique moment. It is when you transition from buddies to competitors. When business is about to take place, you have to get serious. You begin to put on your professional mask, that when you hit the water clearly shows the fish you are the boss. Because, we know they are looking.

When you are driving up to the spot, it seems to never fail that every spot before the spot looks “Epic”. The only right thing to do is stop and check to see if you should maybe fish there instead. You inevitably decide to stick to the plan, because you heard “that spot is better.” This search for perfection is the beginning of the metamorphosis to “professional” angler.

Now when you get out of the truck, everyone moves just a little bit faster. Not too fast to show your “competition” that you are competing, but fast enough to get the edge. First-to-the-River is a title that is clearly important… right? So you “scramble” to your stuff and drop the truck bed.

Veteran anglers know that this “title” is either borderline worthless, or they are just that much faster at rigging up than others.

They take their time to check the river. They come back to the truck to give their opinion. “Looks good. Lots of structure” or “I heard we have to hike in a bit before the water gets nice.” Then they join the race. Calm, cool, collected.

Newbies don’t realize that slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Their excitement gets them wound up. They start shuffling around, almost shaking with anticipation. And the longer the ride up, the more pronounced the shake. They want to get on the water, that or they are just nervous to look like a bad angler. Chin up, you aren’t bad. Get those reps.

Then the banter around the truck changes. From what was likely a conversation about troubles at home, or how shitty their job is, inside the truck. Now on the outside, alone in wilderness, almost like they are afraid a bear will hear and rat them out to their bad boss, the tone shifts. “What fly you thinking about throwing on?” or “Nice waders! When did you pick those up? Do you like ‘em?” It is our last chance to grab intel until the day is through. I mean this is a competition, right?

Still the veteran moves with confidence. Placing his equipment in the same spot every time, he has sized up his competition. Either he knows his feeble newbie competition is just that, or he is just aware that this never was a competition. That it is just something fabricated in the Newbie’s mind. He puts his boots on one at a time. Patient speed.

After rigging up, all the boys wait patiently for one another. Nonchalantly saying to themselves “I don’t want to be THAT guy. I will walk in with everybody.” The newbie says this over and over and dies inside. The veteran knows that, but means it. For him it isn’t about that. One last swig of coffee, and the company march begins.

The newbie doesn’t know, but statistics show that the 57% less fish exist at parking spots and pull offs (no idea if there is actually a statistic), but they still hop right in. They don’t get what the Veteran does. He keeps marching.

Maybe the veteran knows that the fishing is better for those who work more for it. Or maybe he just likes the walk. But he marches.

After all, he didn’t come for the fish. He came for the moments. The nature. The false casts. The silence.

It was never a race. It was for the moments.

And sure a fish would be nice, but he is the Veteran after all… He was always going to catch a fish.

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