© 2012 Will K DSC01263

Feeshin’ Partners

I am stealing the idea from this post straight from a friend and his post can be found here.  Read this first, otherwise you’ll realize that mine pales in comparison too early…

Lately I am almost exclusively solo. The important fishings, though, are always done with a buddy.  They are handy to have if for no other reason than knowing there’s someone to pull your unconscious ass out of the water if you slip and tag a rock, but having a gas-money splitter is a close second.  And–let’s be honest–its really the only chance to get a decent photo of a fish and your face.

This is Evan and I got to know him through my local flyshop Feather-Craft, which also has a strong online/catalog presence.  The shop itself from which all those orders emanate and disperse fly-happiness is an interesting mix between a shop and a bar.  Through my time spent wandering its floor and treating it more like a hangout bar, I earned the trust of the local wildlife and finally got to fish with Evan last year.  He’s the poor soul who works in a fly shop…and never gets to fish.  He goes on a few amazing trips a year up north and squeezes in some runs down to the North Fork of the White, but always looks horribly jealous hearing I went to this-or-that river yesterday.  He is my go-to guy for all things Browns, including pushing me toward larger and larger streamers.  We both need to spend less time in that damn shop and more time together on the river…throwing those comically huge chickens.  That, coincidentally, is a goal I have for 2012–fish the NFOW with him and a mutual friend Brian Wise who has both a website and also guides us schlups to real fish.


Chris Barclay is the jerk who really got me into all this.  I blame him and so does my wife.  The problem with that is…he’s way to nice to stay mad at and will give you the vest off his back.  I still remember the first conversation we had about it and how soon after we were fishing together.  He and I quickly became like brothers and good enough friends to bicker and be honest with each other; our adventures out together have run the gamut from pristine GSMNP streams to trash-filled cesspools.  Our trips are usually born out of a single, vague and ultimately disastrous message sent at the lowest point of any given day: “Wanna?” Within 24 hours of receiving that message we are either on the water or planning how to be.  I think I’ve laughed more with Chris than any other person alive, and I am anxious to see where the next “Wanna?” will land us.  Plus, I think he has researched and knows everything about every aspect of…well, everything (and isn’t an ass about it!).

I met Ronnie at a bar, a really seedy bar.  It looked interesting from the outside, so my wife and Ronnie’s wife brought their respective fly-fisherman husbands for a meet-and-greet.  The wives worked together and–of course–commiserated about having married fly fisherman.  I had never met a guy as positive, happy and non-annoyingly nice as Ronnie; I love fishing with him simply because it wears off and I end up being positive, happy and even a little nice for a few hours afterward.  He’s getting seasoned with the fly, but from day one has had an unbelievable ability to catch fish.  He’s that guy who can tie on a hook, pinch some pocket lint on it, and have the biggest Rainbow within half a mile smash it.  When I want to see fish–and big ones–I know I’ll get to see some if Ronnie and I are out fishing.


Joe was formerly with the Secret Service and a likely host of other agencies that either don’t have names, or he doesn’t trust me to know.  Either way, he is the closest thing to a real-life ninja I’ve ever known. Our off-stream hijinks outnumber our fishy ones (we used to work together), but we did get to fish a few times before he moved away (actually, back home) and again this fall in the GSMNP when he, Chris and I all met up for a week of fishing.  Joe represents yet another totally unique guy I fish with and is indescribably irreplaceable; he may be the only one who has ever broken one of my rods…maybe.  We’ve shared some unforgettably funny and enjoyable times, no matter what’s biting or not.   He is an extremely good friend and one that I wish lived closer; our buddyhood belongs on the water.  He fishes the northeastern border waters with courage and persistence and never brags about his catches.  His Service background suggests to me that his understatements imply he is the holder of no fewer than seven species records and one tackle record.  Joe is the master of understatement.


In all, I arguably have the greatest group of guys to regularly fish alongside.  I wouldn’t give up a single one and wouldn’t trade any for a winning lottery ticket.  Not even a good lottery.  Thinking back over all the times I didn’t fish solo–and with one of these fellas–reminds me why I could never be an only-solo fisherman.  I love seeing what I see out there…through their eyes.  And, let’s be honest, it gets creepy dying of laughter all alone.


  1. Posted January 30, 2012 at 8:46 pm | #

    Your friends are as lucky as you are. Good stuff… feel like we should man hugh…. or not.

  2. Posted February 1, 2012 at 10:09 am | #

    You know, I’ve noticed when you fish with Ronnie that you really do get nicer for a little bit!

  3. Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm | #

    Looks like quite the crew.

  4. Posted February 4, 2012 at 12:54 am | #

    When I first saw you posting on FB, I thought this guys a lunatic. I’ve been following along here and on FB and you know what, I was right in my assessment! I think I could fit in with this group.

  5. Posted February 11, 2012 at 11:08 pm | #

    So the question remains…..will Tucker and Will fish together in 2012….

    • Posted February 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm | #

      At least a dozen or so times. This is our year my friend…

  6. Posted February 16, 2012 at 9:08 pm | #

    That’s quiet the cast of fishing characters! I wish I were apart of it!

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