When we met, it usually centered on our local shop, Clearwater Fly Shop in Conway, NH. Stephen was gracious enough to give us a place to hang out, and also a reason to share the sport with our fishing family.
One of the most important pieces of gear that I ever picked up from Stephen was my Scott Fly Rod hat. It's a really comfortable orange hat that has been with me on more adventures than I can count. It has a permanent place in my wardrobe - for fishing and for casual life.
|Stephen with the original orange hat.|
It seemed that everyone in the club had the same hat. It must have been that all of the great anglers I admired were wearing this, but I knew I had to have it.
|Wearing my orange Scott hat.|
There's something about a fishing hat that I can't explain. Maybe it is some kind of good mojo to wear it. Maybe it's just superstition, but if I'm fishing, I want to wear that hat. It makes my trip better. Sitting on a rock and scratching my head, I can look at the hat and remember some the amazing times that have led me to who and where I am.
|Nome still has hers. And she made it look pretty.|
Recently, an old friend posted a picture of his orange Scott hat on the ol' Facebook. I can't believe it's been so many years, but I recalled a trip to the Salmon River in Pulaski, NY. We were there in some unbelievably cold and shitty weather on the hunt for "steelhead". Joe had hooked into some fish, and opted to keep a few. When you decide to keep steelhead in that area, the state requires you take it to a cleaning station. There, you pay a small fee, they clean the fish, and you go home with your filets.
Let me fill you in on the rest of the day before I proceed with the story...
We had awoken to find about two feet of fresh snow that morning. Parking at the Salmon River is about as dangerous and tricky as the actual fishing. We could't find a spot, so Tim had worked some magic. He spoke with the owner of Melinda's (a local shop and lodge). Melinda herself gave Tim the thumbs up for parking, so we left the Subie there and hit the river.
OK, back to it...
Joe had hooked into some fish, wanted to keep them, and for details not divulged here, I had to take a fish to the cleaning station with him. At that point, we determined that I would call him "Uncle Joe" and well...nevermind, the fish were cleaned and we were heading out. Back we went to the parking lot at Melinda's. That's when all hell broke loose. Melinda saw that we were in possession of those recently cleaned fish and proceeded to rip poor Tim up and down. There was no way that she would ever let him park there if she had known that he would be associating with such assholes that would be insensitive enough to keep and clean those beautiful fish.
It's one of those things - you had to be there, but it was one of the best days on the water. That orange hat was there.
See you on the water. If you see the guy with the orange Scott hat, say hello, and I'll tell you some more stories about it and the crazy shit it has been involved in.
Oh yeah, haven't been back to Melinda's since then...