Monday, March 1, 2010

The Three Ts

As I drove over the bridge I saw a boat being loaded onto its trailer. Not quite ready to go home photoless, I decided to have a closer look. As I pulled in near the boat ramp, three teenagers who had been loitering saw they were out-numbered four-to-three by ballcaps worn with bills forward and made their slow but steady retreat.

“Do any good?” I asked the young man closest to me, maybe twenty-two years old, his 5’6” frame camoed up. The boat too, a duck boat.

“Nah.” His voice was raspy, like he spent a great deal of his time yelling.

“I hear they’re already catching a few Summers.”

He looked at me like I was full of shit. “Summer Steelies? Too early yet. Maybe a fin-clipped Winter.” (They clip Winters?)

“That’s what I heard, down by Shelburne.”

“They’re not even in the Willamette yet.”

“Well, it’s an odd year.” That we could agree upon, although I must point out that the above hearsay was not positioned as an opinion.

“That it is. This river should be a foot higher. We were lucky to make it around that gravel bar north there. Only bumped once.”

“Snow Peak is without.”

“This river depends on that run-off.”

“Better break out your waders from here on out.” Again he shot me a sideways glance.

Another truck pulled into the lot. A guy about my age, hatless. He knew the young men and began talking with the two nearest the boat.

“Yeah, I caught a Chinook just the other day a bit further upstream.”

Upon hearing this, the guy I had been talking to moved off toward his buddies and offered, “Must’ve been a Jack.” He did not look back when I closed the door on my rig.

I kicked up a little gravel.

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