“It’s nice to finally meet you.” Gracy said, shaking hands with Eric Bacon for the first time since he had arrived at our home.
“Yes, it is nice to meet you too.” Eric said back.
Gracy explained how she thought I had made Eric up as an excuse to go fly fishing for a few days in a row, and Eric chimed in with his own theory…
“You know, I thought Erik had made up having a wife.” Eric said, smiling at me. “I wasn’t sure if he was just saying he had a wife to try and look normal…”
“And then he will kidnap you when you least expect it?” Gracy said, to finish Eric’s sentence.
“Yes!” Eric said laughing, and they both looked over at me.
“I’m not sure if I like that both of your theories involve me being the crazy one.” I said.
“You are the crazy one.” Gracy added.
“Crazy about fly fishing.” Eric said, adding a nice cushion to Gracy’s sentence.
I lifted my tea mug up to salute what Eric had just said, and Eric returned the gesture. With our gear packed into Eric’s Jeep, Gracy and I piled in to head up to McCall. The three of us had an interesting conversation about the cultural differences between France and the U.S. in regards to social living and politics. The topic was so interesting that it made the trip up to the trailhead seem short, and before we knew it we were on the trail to the lake.
“This is so beautiful!” Eric said, pulling out his camera for a picture.
“You came here at a perfect time, because all of the trees and bushes are changing to their fall colors.” I said, stopping on the trail for Eric to snap a picture.
“Sorry.” Eric said, as he turned a few degrees to snap another picture, then again to snap another.
“Don’t worry about it, we have all day.” I reassured. We started walking again, but only made it another fifty feet before Eric stopped again to take more pictures.
“I am sorry, this is just so beautiful.” He said, snapping a few more shots.
“This is nice, but wait until we get to the lake… if we ever get there.” I said with a smile.
Gracy was following just behind us with our little dog, Kiwi, as we continued our hike.
“So, so sorry…” Eric said again, stopping and pulling out his camera to get a shot of the brilliant fall colors.
“All if my pictures from this trip have been fish pictures only, until today.” Eric said smiling. “It will be a nice change when my kids see the photos.”
“Gee, I don’t know what that’s like.” Gracy said, glancing at me as we started walking.
“Hey! I take nice pictures.” I said back.
“Of fish!” Gracy said.
“True…” I said with a smirk.
“I am the same.” Eric said, stopping again for a few more pictures.
“You go first.” I said to Eric who was just behind me.
“Yes, the lake is just up this hill and I want you to see it first.” I explained.
“Okay!” He said with a smile, and Gracy and I followed until the lake came into view. Eric stopped walking, looked over at Gracy and I with a smile, and pulled his camera out of his pocket.
The one thing that can grab the attention of any dedicated angler is a rising fish, and when we saw the ripple of one next to the shore it didn’t take long for Eric and I to slap our rods together and start fishing.
Gracy and Kiwi continued over to the far end of the lake to sit on the big rock that offered a nice view, while Eric and I slapped our flies down around the border of the lake. My fly sat motionless on the surface of the lake, and after a few seconds I gave it a little twitch. The small commotion enticed a cruising fish. With the clear water, I watched as the fish switched directions to dart towards my fly. The bright bronze color of the fish became more noticeable as it rose closer to the surface, and its mouth opened to take to my fly.
“There’s one!” I said, lifting my rod tip to set the hook.
“Nice.” Eric said as he glanced over, but then went right back to fishing.
I brought out my camera to get an underwater shot of the fish after it had tired a bit, and I took several shot to ensure a good photo.
I was back to fishing as soon as my fish kicked away. Eric had gotten a hit but was unable to connect with the fish. I was having that same problem after that first fish. Every time a fish came up to eat, I felt the slight pressure of the fish before my fly sprang out of its mouth. We both felt that we had fished these spots enough to move on.
Eric had his camera out again, and was taking picture as we walked to the next spot to fish.
“This is so beautiful.” Eric said, gesturing to the lake.
“I’m glad you like it.” I said.
“Everything is perfect. I hope you know how good you have it here.” He said, taking in his surroundings.
“I have not been to many places away from home, but I know that this is where I belong.” I said back.
“That’s good.” Eric said, as we approached a spot to stop and fish.
“You take this rock, and I will go over there.” I said, pointing to a small spot to stand just a bit further away.
“Good luck.” Eric said, and we went back to fishing.
I pulled out my leader to start roll-casting out into the lake, when I saw a small rise near where Eric was fishing. Eric quickly readjusted his cast, and sent his fly out where he had seen the rise. I watched in slight suspense because I really wanted Eric to hook into a fish here. Just then a fish rose, and Eric ripped his line up to set the hook.
“Yes!” I said, and ran over to get some video of Eric bringing in his fish.
“I love fishing the U.S.A.!” Eric said with excitement, and I quickly stuck my Go-Pro under the water to get some video of his fish.
“This is a very beautiful fish.” Eric said, as he tried to get a hold of it for a picture.
“There it is.” I said, after Eric got a hold of his fish and held it up for a picture.
Eric set his fish into the water, and it shot off so fast that it was almost startling.
“Fast as a snake!” Eric said to me, “And you know why.”
“Yes.” I said, remembering our run-in with the bull snake at the South Fork the previous day.
“Where did Gracy go?” Eric asked.
“She is over there on the big rock with Kiwi. She has our sandwiches if you are getting hungry.”
“We will fish over to her.” He recommended, and we started on our way.
Eric and I caught a few fish as we approached the big rock, and when we got there Gracy was happy to hand us our snack for the afternoon.
“1, 2, 3…” Eric said, pointing at the camcorder, Go-Pro, and still-shot camera I had on me for the day.
“Do you always take this many cameras with you?” He asked.
“No, I have these cameras so I can take video of you to remember your trip.” I said.
“He also makes videos for his dad.” Gracy added.
“Yeah, my dad loves watching videos of my brothers and I fly fishing.” I said, “Are you ready to start fly fishing again?”
“Yes, but I want a picture of us at this spot.” Eric said.
“Yes, of course.” I said, as Gracy took Eric’s camera and mine to snap a few picture of us.
It wasn’t long after we had casted our flies when Eric hooked into a fish. The process of bringing it in was more complicated than the fight with the fish itself. In order to land this fish Eric had to shimmy around a pine tree that blocked his way to the water’s edge. I showed up quickly to grab Eric’s fly rod as he handed it to me to get around the pine tree. I quickly handed it back, and Eric was able to bring in the fish.
“This is a perfect way to end my fly fishing trip.” Eric said, after we had fished our way back to the trail that would lead us to the car.
“I’m glad you enjoyed coming out here.” I replied.
“Yes, this is definitely something I would have never done myself.” Eric said, pulling out his camera to take one last shot of the lake.
As we hiked back to the car, the sun had repositioned to light up the hillside far more brilliantly than on our hike in, and there was no way Eric could pass it by without a few more pictures.
“So much of my trip is pictures of fish.” Eric said, as we hiked out, “So far I have over 150 pictures of fish and rivers of my trip. Today, I took over 200 pictures, and my family will be happy to see something other than fish.” “I did the same thing when I went to my first alpine lake.” I said. “Oh, look at this!” Eric said, stopping on the trail. “The dead trees surrounded by the grasses, pine trees, and yellow colors is exactly what reminds me of the American North West.” Eric snapped a few pictures then stopped to breathe in the fresh air of Idaho’s backcountry. A smile grew on his face as he looked over my way… “Okay, I am ready.”
Kiwi led the way as we continued to walk out, and it wasn’t long before we had reached the cars to end the day.
We all had a beverage of choice waiting for us back at the car, and it was a welcomed treat after a day in the backcountry. On the way home we plugged in Eric phone to listen to a playlist his son, Tom, had created for him. I was surprised to hear that Eric was an enormous fan of American metal music, and when the electric guitar started whaling over the speakers in the car, Eric’s face lit up. “Yes! Now I feel at home.” He said as we met his smile with our own, and I turned up his music for the rest of the drive home. I am very happy Eric took me up on the offer to stay at my house to finish off his fly fishing trip to the U.S.A. He spent four days with me, and it all flew by so fast. The new techniques I have learned from Eric will be adopted and used in my own ways from now on, with the idea that I will only become more diverse in my ability to target and catch difficult fish. Before catching his plane the next day, Eric offered me the opportunity to tie and sell Jacques’s Magic Fly at Anglers. “To have his fly sold in an American fly shop would be a great tribute to Jacques. It would have made him very happy.” Eric told me, handing me a few to copy. I promised Eric that I would let anglers know about Jacques and his magic fly when they buy it, and how and when to use it. Eric was satisfied by this, and I will be sure to send him other people’s success storied when using the magic fly. So until next year, I say au revoir to my friend Eric, and await for his return next year. A small fly fishing video I made for Eric fly fishing in the U.S.A.
P.S. The recent attack in Paris had me thinking about Eric, Christian, and their friends and families. I am happy to report that Eric and Christian were both out fly fishing and they, along with their families, are ok. I was relieved to hear my friends were ok, but my sympathies go out to so many others who were not so fortunate. #PrierpourParis