In 1998, my wife and I relocated to a small community in North Georgia. I took a better paying job and closed the distance between stream trout fishing and myself by half. It was a hot week in July when we finally made the drive north that ended at our new home. So, it was with great thoughtfulness that I asked myself that day: What's the first thing I need to do now? That's right – find a fishing buddy!
Don't hold me to it, but I think that's pretty much what I posted on an small, local internet forum way back in 1998. I'm sure it was nothing about long walks on the beach or back rubs or weekends spent watching When Harry Met Sally. I was looking for a friend who might want to help me battle a few bass in some local bass ponds. So, one night I posted that message on a fishing forum and pretty soon I got a bite! Some guy back in the city said he'd never fished those ponds and he'd like to meet me out there. A few emails back and forth and the date...err...the fishin' trip was set. I was really excited to find someone that didn't know me, because that meant they'd probably show up!
So, I met William at the ponds and we shook hands like grown men are supposed to do – you know, angler protocol and all that. William said he was going to fish with a spinning rod, which was fine by me because that was my “weapon of choice” back then as well. I remember it was a warm, muggy day and William was wearing a......see what I did there? I don't know what he was wearing! I told you, this was a fishin' trip – not a date!
Anyway, we fished all day that day – nearly 12 hours of hard-core bass fishing. We caught fish too! Bass, bream and even a few crappie maybe. It's been a while now since that first trip and it's hard to remember the exact number or size of the fish. I do remember one thing though...
After about 8 hours of fishing, William hadn't said two words! Well, I'm not the kind of guy that keeps quiet. Just ask my wife when she's trying to watch her favorite television show. I was whooopin' it up every time one of us got a fish. I was asking him all kinds of questions about things like if he'd ever eaten squirrel or used shrimp for catfish bait or gotten a really bad sunburn or fallen off a dock or kissed a possum or had a job. William was mostly.....well, ….the boy just didn't talk! I did find out that he had a job, had used shrimp for catfish bait and did once fall off a dock. ( He wouldn't say on the possum thing, but he looked guilty when it came up, so you draw your own conclusions there.)
The sun was setting after a few more hours and as we walked back to the cars, he was still absolutely mum. I jabbered on and on, trying to find out if he either A. had a good time or B. was going to murder me with a tire iron. He hadn't said two dozen words all day.
We reached the cars and he stuck out his hand. “I had a lot of fun. Let's do it again soon.”
You could have knocked me over with a feather. Almost 15 years later, he's my best fishing buddy and one of my best friends. Just goes to show you that …..yeah, it really doesn't go to show you anything. Except maybe that you need to go bass fishin this weekend. That'd be fun, wouldn't it?
My Fishin' buddy William... from Owl Jones on Vimeo.
Owl Jones is a blogger, freelance writer, fly fisherman and fly designer from Gainesville, Georgia. He runs the website & blog OwlJones.com and spends his days working in the “Popper Mine” at ZazzyPop.com.