Here I am, sitting in the “wader room” under the effects of coffee and cream as a drip from the soggy boots on the shelf up above me trickles down my back. But I can’t move. I try to shift to the edge of my cheek to avoid the next cold drop. It hits my ear. I close my eyes in disgust.
The stench from a season of Gore-tex induced sweat wafting through my sinuses holds in the back of my nose. I will still smell it in an hour, sitting in the back of my throat like a cheap tequila aftertaste. The clients I have today won’t notice until the morning sun hits their faces and they begin to perspire themselves, adding to the mélange.
A few pairs of waders are hanging turned inside out either leakers or swimmers, neither are good. Boulders well out of the current’s scrubbing power have acquired a coating felt soles, steel studs and wading staffs cannot penetrate, so swimmers occur. Or at least they get a dunking good enough to ruin most cell phones.
It is obvious that the shop dog ate too much of the bar trash left outside on the benches. Making the pup, well you know, “sick as a dog.” So a pile has formed in the corner of the fly shop under the rod rack. The shop guys pretend not to notice. The first to acknowledge the barf inevitably has to clean it up. Walking by looking the other way I pretend too. We all get a chuckle when the first few clients arrive and let the friendly dog lick their faces.
The smack of decay hits me in the face the moment Andy opens his cooler on the tailgate. He forgot to remove his lunch leftovers two days ago. Colorado summertime heat and direct sunlight in the bed of his pickup have transformed the otherwise delectable items into an indescribable concoction. We opt for keeping all of the edibles in my cooler for the day. There will be no room in the Yeti for drinks now. The waters will be room temperature or warmer by the time lunch comes around.
The initial sting in my forearm caught my attention but when the client punched forward on the casting stroke I really noticed the grasshopper fly impaled through my shirtsleeve into my arm. “This one is going to hurt!” I thought to myself. In my haste I had forgotten to pinch down the barb on this fly. The longer a fly sits stuck barb deep through my skin the harder it will be to remove. I grimace and hold on as tight as I can, popping the fly from its firm hold. Blood is immediate, but I move on, trying to act as if I am undeterred by the event. My client wants to take a break, now, realizing the errant cast was a hurry-up move that he should not have made. The result was a hooked guide. Ooops.
A few minutes later, I heard the sound before I saw the results pretty much knowing the rod was broken by the snap that echoed in my ears. The client, wide-eyed and holding the top half of the Sage fly rod, stood in disbelief in front of me. “How?” It was a clean break, just above the ferrule. There goes another one of my rods. Most clients don’t think about the hardware they are using. Knowing the rods belong to the guide not the fly shop wouldn’t prevent the accident, realizing that the guide just lost a critical piece of equipment, however is a start. And, compensating the guide for the loss would be the correct reaction.
Making the most out of a day on the water should be easier than some clients allow. Finding minor “flaws” in the guided experience and dwelling upon them leads to rough, unpleasant fishing. Clients should realize that the outcome of the experience lies in the their hands as much as the guide’s. Wet boots, sweaty waders, sick dogs and errant flies can compound into a negative experience. Working hard to stay positive through a long season is a difficult task some days. Because you never really know how the guide’s last trip went.