A river of brotherly love

Sometimes it seems like patience must be about the rarest thing on Earth.
There could be many reasons for this.
I’m in a bit of a hurry but let me explain. We live in an age of misinformation and labor saving technology where people have no time for patience. This is nowhere more apparent than in the competitive world of steelhead fishing.
Patience was once thought to be a virtue by anglers and other philosophers. Fishing, according to Isaac Walton, “Begat habits of peace and patience to those who practiced it.”
That was, of course, written in the 1600s. Fishing has gotten a lot worse since then. I blame myself, but there are now 7 billion other people who might have had something to do with it.
The fact is the fishing is going to get a whole lot worse until it gets better.
The worse fishing gets the more you need a guide.
In the old days all you needed to be a fishing guide was a big hat, a tin boat and a riot gun.
The guides had a feeling of brotherly love, or not. The rules were strict. You didn’t crowd another guide out of a hole, heck, you wouldn’t launch on a section of river with another guide on it. Disputes could be settled with guns, clubs or gaff hooks by participants who Johnny Winter might say have “been smokin’ whiskey, been drinking cocaine.”
The one bunch you made sure you didn’t mess with was the plunkers. These usually armed and dangerous anglers could be identified by large smoky fires on the riverbank.
Plunking was a family affair where children were treasured as a most valuable resource because on a good day you could always put an extra fish on their punch cards.
The plunkers cast their gear out into a portion of the river used as a travel lane by the migrating fish. Knowing where the fish were moving up the river was the key to success. The plunkers stuck their rod in a holder that had been pounded into the beach, put a bell on the end on their rod and waited patiently for it to ring.
Conflicts between plunkers and boat fishermen were inevitable. The driftboaters called the plunkers a bunch of lazy drunks which was a lot like pot calling the kettle drunk.
Then there was the time the young guide rowed through the plunking hole with his anchor dangling down in the water. It was an inadvisable maneuver that snagged a half-dozen plunking rigs.
That set the bells to ringing!
The plunkers scrambled to their rods showering curses as I tried to explain how I just wanted to see what they were using for bait.
Professional requirements for fishing guides have become much more demanding in recent years.
These days to be a guide you will require an attorney to understand the fishing laws, a smart phone to post your latest fishing statistics on your othermost important guide tool, the Web site (www.patnealwildlife.com).
These sites all talk about the great fishing on the Olympic Peninsula. None of them mention that catching these fish could require patience.
This can lead to misunderstandings. Anglers who have spent their lives watching fishing shows on TV can be especially disappointed when fishing on a real-life river is slower than it is on TV.
That’s where I provide a counseling service that explains the value of patience in our lives.
We’re fishing for the fish of a lifetime, that may take a lifetime to catch.
What is your hurry?

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