A first fish is a memorable experience. Even more so when that fish is a sea-going rainbow trout. My first steelhead came on the Garcia River in Northern California. I was 18 and showing me the ropes was my construction co-worker/ceramics teacher/fishing partner, Bob Z. A legend in his own right, Bob taught me more than I'll ever be able to repay about fishing, framing, throwing clay, women, and life in general. At the time, I never really understood why Bob took such good care of me, shared all his secret spots, let me partake of his whiskey. I think back on those days and they're rich with memories of Old Turkey, sawdust, Swisher Sweets, and the high fives of deeply cracked and weathered hands.
Fast forward fifteen years and I got to be a part of another first fish, with my soon to be wife. Hers came a little more elegantly than mine, on a swung fly in the Willamette Valley. If Bob's satisfaction from those first fish of mine fifteen years ago were anything like this fish was for me, all that whiskey and those cigars suddenly make a lot more sense.