I have an angling role model, although I don’t know him, nor does he know me. Several years ago, I was fishing Soda Butte creek. As I made my way down the hill from the parking lot to the little wooden bridge across the stream, I observed an angler standing midstream. This gentleman appeared to be at least in his eighties, if not nineties, his body severely bent at the waist, his body describing an inverted “L.” Hatless, he sported a shock of thick white hair, his skin burnished copper. He was wearing hipboots, and in his left hand was a wading staff with which he steadied himself against the not insubstantial current. Facing downstream, he pulled a length of flyline off his reel and began to cast, allowing his fly to wash over a small “waterfall” into the plunge pool below. At the end of each drift, he lifted his length of line off the water, backcast, and cast downstream again, similar to tenkara with its fixed-length line. And he caught fish! Cutthroat.
I still wonder how he negotiated that hill, getting in and out of the stream, and managing not to fall in the current. I applaud him for continuing to fish , adapting to his age and infirmities, rather than giving up on a pastime that was obviously important to him. That’s the type of fisherman I believe we all would like to be someday.