My good friend John and I had lost touch after high school in the typical way you do without any reason. A year or so ago, after two of our parents ran into each other, we discovered we're now only living about two hours apart. We emailed a few times and saw each other at a reunion, but it wasn't until John wrote to ask me if I fly fished that we managed to get some firm plans down.
He described his skill level as being that of the guy with the coffee can of worms in A River Runs Through It. I wasn't sure what to expect, and didn't really care (but, for the record, he acquitted himself admirably).
We elected to hit a trout stream I'm somewhat familiar with for our first outing (although I planned to get into a new stretch of it). We rigged up, and on my second cast, I had a hit. Just as I realized there were a number of stockers in the pool, a spinfisher came around the bend. We got to chatting, and as I missed a series of strikes, I offered to share the pool with him. He declined, instead offering a suggestion on my angle of approach.
A few casts later and he was netting a nice brown for me (and I was discovering my camera was next to the front door at home -- I'd wish for it later). We looked up as I released it and saw John releasing one of his own. I thanked the man and left the hole to him so John and I could keep moving. We probably spent more of the morning hiking and talking than we did fishing.
The fishing wasn't stellar -- the only other fish being a native brookie that I dropped back into the stream before being able to show off its bright orange -- but we kept finding interesting things around us.
We got an close look at a garter snake, saw two salamanders (one a subdued brown and the other that neon blue sort of color that you'd swear fishing manufacturers had made up if you hadn't ever seen these things), and took a break at a waterfall.
On the way out, though was the real treat. John stopped me, and as I was just thinking how it sounded like cicadas, we saw the rattler moving from his sunny spot on the trail up into the brush. He didn't go far, and we had to cautiously make our way out around him. It was the first rattlesnake either of us had encountered, and later we laughed at how we made sure to bring it up in almost every conversation we had.
After that we had to get home. We didn't catch many fish, but I'll trade a high-fish day for the sort of day we did have.