When you get the opportunity to fish with Tommy Lynch, you take it.
Sitting in a small motel room surrounded by faded trout decor and all of my camera equipment, I take out my notebook and try my best to write out a plan for the following day. Tommy and I are gonna fish in a raft. He's picking me up at eight. After filming a few guide focused videos like this, I've developed a strategy. Film every cast until a fish is caught, have the guide talk about the raft, and then we can do and film whatever we want. Not much of a plan, I know, but its worked so far. I recheck my batteries and take inventory of my camera bag one more time.
The next morning Tommy picked me up and I gave him an overview of my plan. Almost nine hours later, it dawns on me that we have failed. No fish. I have video of every single cast Tommy made that day and a nice dose of frostbite on my fingers. Tommy drops me back at my car and I start the seven-hour drive back home. It was on this drive that I had a chance to reflect on what had happened. I could see moments from the day. I tried to decode what some of Tommy's more esoteric quotes meant, if anything. The reality is this: Tommy stuck to his guns. He wanted a steelhead on the swing. That's how he wants to catch fish, and that's how he tried. And holy shit did he try. When Tommy fishes a spot, he fishes it hard. Every hole was given more than an egregious amount of casts. Every cast felt good. For eight hours. And then we got back in his truck.
I learned a lot that day on the water. I could try to make it sound literary or even interesting but the truth is that it's not. It's cold weather and good conversation and hard fishing. I learned that there's nothing you can do but try, so you might as well try hard. And if you think that sounds obvious or simple, you probably haven't fished with Tommy Lynch.