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“Who’s Your Buddy?” These are my Buddies.

Another fantastic read (as all their other stuff is – I’m sure you know the site well), that Louis at Gink and Gasoline put together titled Who’s Your Buddy? (click the link to read more) really struck home with me.

“We spend a lot of time selecting our gear, choosing the water, tying the flies, setting up the boat. There’s endless talk about waders and boots and reels and lines. Don’t forget that the most important piece of the puzzle is the guy standing next to you. Choose your fishing buddies wisely. Wives and girlfriends come and go but a fishing buddy is a serious commitment.” -Louis Cahill, Gink and Gasoline

I keep frequent company with a ridiculous motley crue cast of characters.  A band of drinking, fighting, fishing, swearing mauraders that all operate and function in the ‘real world’ under the guise of normal, mostly socially acceptable, humans – some of them even professionals.  Introduce water, woods, nature, booze, and fish to this pack of hooligans and they morph into entirely different creatures that probably would be unrecognizable to their co-workers, family members, and neighbors.  I suppose I fit the bill in these regards as well.

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We have helped each other sometimes make poor decisions, given bad advice, we talk about ridiculous things, there is a language understood by each of us that is nothing more than some form of jibberish that would be entirely foreign to any semi-educated adult.  I’ve lost count of how many far fetched inventions we’ve discussed or how many times we’ve solved pressing matters such as world hunger and the economic crisis.

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We’ve helped each other break into our own houses. We’ve waited, huddled together in the pitch black in areas where bears and meth cooks out numbered us while cars were shuttled.  We’ve happily risked our own lives and tempted death by drowing to land fish for each other.  We’ve also been there for one another when things in our ‘real lives’ were broken.   We’ve gone to war for one another.

We came together as sometimes single outcast misfits from other groups, or perhaps in pairs of free agents looking for new guys to fish with.  Some of us were new in town and didn’t know any better when they were drafted by a group member and now they are in too deep to get out.  We have others that have joined in looking for a dose of irresponsibility in their lives, and we have others that need the little bit of structure that we do have.

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Myself and my pals aren’t perfect.  We annoy one another sometimes, we don’t always understand each other, and sometimes we even get angry because someone did or said something that was really stupid, even by our low standards.  Our friendship isn’t this nice, neat, tidy little corner of our lives that we just get together and fish every now and again.  The relationships that started on the river someplace spilled over into the ‘real world’ and became a larger part of who we are.  We are different with each other when we are in the ‘real world’ than we are when we are on the water – its something that has to be done to be socially acceptable to those that aren’t us.

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These guys are my brothers, they are the ones that have shared some of my best and some of my worst moments with me.  They have each taught me what to do and often what not to do, both on and off the water.  More so than anything, fishing wouldn’t be what it is to me if I didn’t have them.

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