I bet you do! Or at least someone like him.
Last night at the Christmas Party, I got approached by a few people about not having posted any "As The Impeller Turns" stories for quite some time.
Too distracted, but, as I settle into some big life changes, I'll try to get on it again soon.
In the interim, I thought I would dig out a story or two from the archives, and give anyone who wants to, a chance to wade through and have a look at them.
This story, as all impeller stories, is based on absolutely true events.
How Formerly got his name
The story of the man who formally became known as “Pilgrim” has to start with an acknowledgment to Mr. Bill Monroe. His writings of the one and only original and true Pilgrim are the inspiration for the title bestowed a fishing friend in an “adjectivorial” (I love making up words!) sense. Any of you who have followed Bill’s columns in the Oregonian know how the Pilgrim has had the power to shut down the bite not only for himself but for others.
The descriptive concept was adopted for this condition by my buddies and me, just as I am sure that it has for many others of you out there. So Bill, I hope I am breaking no copyrights by referencing someone this way in the generic sense. Sorta like being “Munsoned” in bowling for those of you who have seen “Kingpin.”
Anyway, this friend, we used to call him “Dude,” as in The Dude – the part that Jeff Bridges played in “The Big Labowski” – because he was sort of laid back but still an instigator, used to catch his fair share of fish. Then one season, for whatever reason, the stink came down upon him like darkness on a moonless night.
Mysteriously, he done got Pilgrimed!
It was both sudden and dramatic. The Red Sled could be sure to see action on a consistent basis, even with the Dude’s gear left on board and even fished by someone, as long as that someone was not the Dude. When he showed the bite was off on the boat.
But like some insidious mold or fungus condition, the effects of his stink were enlarging each trip out. We realized that he should Formally be known as the man called Pilgrim as his ill smell took even wider and wider effects. We would launch on the Clack at first and the bite would shut down. But soon, much like a pool of deisel in a pristine stream, the man Formally known as Pilgrim’s effect would not only be noted in the Red Sled, but the next hole.
With later trips the man Formally known as Pilgrim would not only stink up holes immediately below us, but he would cause entire sections of rivers to go cold. In fact, we noticed the man Formally known as Pilgrim would fish and within 24 hours the section of river would be put on notice to be closed to fishing by the particular state or federal agency that ruled that water. Investigations would typically ensue as to how so many fish simply “disappeared” from an area the man Formally known as Pilgrim was last seen in. The EPA, DEQ, various Water boards, Forestery officials, Loaves and fishes, Volunteer Fire Departments and even Explorer scouts were frequently called in following a visit to a stream by the man Formally known as Pilgrim.
Now mind you, the rest of us in the gang were not letting this happen to the man Formally known as Pilgrim without a fight. And to his credit he was game on “getting fixed.” Many of the methods tried on the man Formally known as Pilgrim were barely or maybe not legal in many states, but suffice it to say that combinations involving chicken blood, marsupial bones and rodent hair were not effective in breaking the curse. Neither for the man Formally known as Pilgrim were baths in buckets of WD-40, sucking on fish eyeballs or even many forms of self inflicted torture.
As we entered literally the second year of the man Formally known as Pilgrim’s condition (by now we could measure, with the advent of so many cellular phones, an immediate upstream effect of over five miles and downstream for 19.7) was getting dire.
Never ones to give up, however, Reel Dick and I buttressed ourselves for another worthless weekend foray of taking the man Formally known as Pilgrim on a trip up the Clackamas in May.
The day started like so many others. We had slayed fish the day before at High Rocks, but that day there was nary a beep on the graph, let alone a bite. Most fishermen would see that the man Formally known as Pilgrim was in the sled and would immediately pack up from their favorite bank spot or load their boats up and head home for some productive garage cleaning or Petunia planting.
But this was the day, the day we had waited so long for. We rigged the man Formally known as Pilgrim up with a diver and shrimp combo so he wouldn’t have to actually touch any more of the fishing apparatus than necessary. I put his rod out for him and put it in the holder over my shoulder. It was a beautiful spring day, and there were just a few puffy cumulus clouds around and virtually no wind.
We were fishing just above the old streetcar bridge crossing by the water intake, slowly backing, when the man Formally known as Pilgrim got a call on his cell from his daughter. I heard the phone ring, saw the man Formally known as Pilgrim dig it out of his pocket and say hello when SLAM!!!!!!! The rod is down! Right now! No doubt!
At that moment the man Formally known as Pilgrim said goodbye to his daughter with the phone scrunched in his neck, as he picked up the rod in utter wonderment. Reel Dick and I had our jaws dropped to the waterline when at the same moment, out of nowhere, a class 4 storm appeared.
I mean it. Unbelievable!
Out of absolutely nowhere, simultaneously with the man Formally known as Pilgrim picking up the rod, Gale force winds were upon us. The wind kicked up waves like I have never seen on the Clack. The sled was literally being blown sideways and upstream. Then the huge drops of pelting sideways rain appeared. Rain so hard it hurt! All while the man Formally known as Pilgrim was dutifully fighting the fish and I was trying to control the boat. The weird thing was I remember looking through the sheet rain and could see all around us that there was no storm except right where we were. There was even a complete circle halo rainbow all around us. A complete and utter microburst of cosmic proportions! Really strange.
Reel Dick picked up the net, and in conditions reminiscent of “The Perfect Storm”, managed to make a dip-stab and the fish was in the net!! And just like the sprinklers at the end of their cycle, the wind and rain simultaneously stopped. Just like that. All was calm again. Birds were chirping and the beautiful spring day had returned.
Other than the half-filled-with-water sled and the three dudes who looked like they just walked thru a Kady car-wash, one might have never know what we just went through.
As it turned out, the about 20 pound Chinook had a fin and we had to release it, but it was at that moment that the man Formally known as Pilgrim was immediately renamed as he was now the man Formerly known as Pilgrim.
He has been known as Formerly
and has been catching fish ever since that fateful day in May when he lost the stink.
I have heard rumors that there were fishermen in the vicinity that day that had been catching lots of fish but now are not. I can only hope that they are not suffering the same effect as a result of the blowing winds…
However, as Formerly
has proven, given time, effort and will, even the worst case of Pilgrimism can be excorcised!