The Company You Keep

Last week I was privileged to help host two groups on our beloved Guadalupe River.

The first was the Trout Unlimited communications team, who were here on a planning retreat. This small but critical team is lead by director Chris Hunt; no stranger to Texas or our  Guadalupe River TU chapter. Chris has visited our chapter several times, and helped us place one of our young men as a TU summer intern. I keep up with Chris and his exploits via social media, and bump into him at the occasional TU national gathering.

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With important communications business to attend to, we only had a half day to fish. As fate would have it, a warm bluebird sky with low flows and spooky trout awaited us.

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In spite of challenging conditions, we found a few fish. More importantly my two fellow chapter members and I  renewed some old friendships with our TU national brethren, and started a few new ones. These are stellar folks to rub shoulders with, and none finer with which to share our river.

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The following day we hosted some of the board members and directors of Casting for Recovery, a non profit that our chapter has supported for years. They provide healing retreats for women who are post operative for breast cancer.

The day began early with pickups at the downtown Austin hotel that served as home for our guests. We loaded up several vehicles and caravaned to the river, with a short stop to purchase fishing licenses for a few folks.

I am a veteran of this drive to the river, but on this day the miles slid quickly by as I got to know my truck-mates, Susan, Peg, and Starr. These three are a lively bunch, full of exuberance. I had a feeling it wasn’t just about the anticipation of getting on the river either. These ladies have discovered their sweet spot. Doing what they do for others brings joy to them that naturally bubbles over to innocent bystanders having an effect similar to Pan’s pixie dust.

Again I was joined by two fellow chapter members. We split up our guests and held forth on the strategies to be imposed upon unsuspecting trout. With battle plans drawn, we gathered the sinews of war and marched to our various rally points.

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Starr hooked up within ten minutes of entering the river. From there the fishing was great, but catching proved elusive.

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The day was glorious, and time passed quickly as it always seems to on the river. Discoveries were made, like the non-native Egyptian geese that watched Peg as she plied the current beneath the mushroom shaped rock they took refuge upon.

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Cypress trees with their middle earth like roots that anchor them to bedrock stood as silent sentinels, witnessing our efforts to unlock the trouty mysteries of the day.

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I may soon forget the flies I used, or the few fish caught. But the quality and character of the people I met those two days on the river will long be part of my memory. Indeed it confirmed to me once more of just how many such folks I have been privileged to encounter since embarking down the path of fly fishing and Trout Unlimited chapter leadership.  If we are known by the company we keep, I am in tall cotton.

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