H. Neal Glanville: Fishing with Roy
Saturday was Roy Franklin Southards’ 70th birthday.
As I sat across from the old coot eating way too much cake, I remembered the year of the big fish.
In the late 1970s, the family and I moved north to Pinedale, Wyo. As the Thanksgiving holiday approached, our wives spent hours on the phone deciding whose house would be turned upside-down for the four-day fest.
Who would bake what and blah, blah, blah.
Meanwhile, Roy and I spoke about the important issues facing the free world. Things such as the average air temperature over the lake, surface temperature of the lake and most importantly when I thought the lake was going to turn.
Yup, only the important issues.
As life would have it, the lake turned the day before the Southard clan arrived. I was like a kid with a new bike, waiting for Roy to show up.
We were on the water at daylight fishing every inch of the lake. We caught fish on just about everything we threw – Cutthroats, Rainbows, a few big Browns – but nothing worthy of bragging rights.
Late that afternoon, Roy reminded the fish-aholic (that would be me) that to keep some semblance of peace in the house, we should start fishing our way home.
We decided to make our last pass through a rockslide I’d named Mackinaw Flats.
As I swung the craft around, Roy dropped his lure in the water, and I flipped my 59-cent special – the girls called it “the cutest little lure in the world” – out and away from the boat.
It wasn’t in the water 10 seconds before that “cute little lure” was hung up on something.
Cussing, I killed the motor and reached for my rod. Just then, Roy yelled something and the line started singing off my reel.
We had a big one. That fish rose and sounded six times, and six times we missed him with our oversized net.
On the seventh, we had him in the boat. He was big – not just big – he was really big.
We had no way of telling how much he weighed or how long he was. All we knew for certain was that he was big.
On the way home, we cooked up a plan: Roy would walk into the house looking rejected and defeated.
I would drag Mr. Mack in a minute or two behind him.
Our wives sounded off in unison when he hit the door.
“Oh, great, you two have been gone all day and didn’t catch anything but cold and wet did you?”
Entering center stage, I and the monster Mack swept into the living room. Everybody erupted at once, laughing and touching the monster from the deep. Someone had the state of mind to call the local Fisheries Biologist (that’s a gentle hint for Craig). Roy remembers the 24-inch and 16-inch fish that the biologist pulled from the fish’s stomach, and I remember every minute Roy and I have spent together.
Until next time :
Yup, there I was surrounded by rainy weather cry-babies when I said to myself “Self,” I said cause that’s what I call myself when I’m talking to myself. “They’ve forgotten about our snowy June last year.”
Thank you for your time.
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