Mariner High School Old Farts Fishing Weekend — an Annual Tradition?

Remember our reunion last year? It was fun reconnecting to the past, wasn’t it? Maybe some of you even rediscovered something about yourself — for many of us, reunions are a way to reconnect with people who have known you since you were small, who were present while you became the person you are today. Maybe even helped to create that person.

Well, last year a few of us got together a few months after the reunion for a fishing trip — you might remember seeing something about that (if not, scroll down this page). We had so much fun that we decided to do it again this year.

And thus was born the “Mariner High School Old Farts Fishing Reunion” — what we hope will be an annual get-together for people who went to Mariner High School in the mid-70’s.

The event is small, informal, and pretty much unorganized — like the rest of my life. This year’s participants included Ozie Greene, Dave Van Beek, Keith Anderson (Class of 1977), Jim Roberts and myself. We arrived in the Yakima Canyon, traveling from points west, south, north and east to converge on the Canyon this weekend for two days of fishing, and a night around the campfire, retelling old stories and catching up to speed on the new ones.

Between the five of us, we had accumulated approximately 9 marriages, 8 kids, and maybe 200 pounds under our more expansive belts since high school. We all feel our 50th birthdays breathing down our neck. But most of us had known each other since grade school, and certainly all through high school. So that extra baggage tends to be of secondary importance, and we spent Saturday night in front of the campfire and under the stars. We told stories, exchanged gossip, showed battle scars, and just watched the fire until, one by one, we drifted off to our tents, campers and SUV’s to sleep.

Being sleep-challenged, I roamed around the campground until 2 a.m. taking pictures in the dark. See photos below.
We also came to fish — I will admit, the fishing was not terrific, but not half-bad, either — we ran into nice PMD hatches both days and a decent baetis hatch on Saturday. Both hatches seem to overlap to a large degree, and from one spot to the next it’s hard to know which will get the trout’s attention. In general, I had more luck with PMD’s in the slower, froggier water, baetis in the slightly faster (but still no more than walking speed) stuff.

Jim had never fly fished before, but he didn’t let that stop him! We had to go into town to buy him a fishing license, but he was rewarded with the largest fish to hand for the day, a fat 17 inch trout taken on an October caddis.I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Saturday we met up around 10:30 a.m. and after a little farting around, were ready to get on the river before noon.

when 5 middle aged guys try to tie on tiny little dry flies, there’s a lot of squinting going on…..

OK, I hardly ever take fish pictures, so I don’t have any photos of the few fish we did catch — but believe me, we DID catch a couple. Eventually though, we got back to camp, and settled in around the campfire….

From left around the fire: Keith Anderson (Class of 1977), Dave Van Beek, Ozie Greene, and yours truly.

we talked until the embers were low.

The best thing about getting outside the city is remembering what the sky looks like.


Jim came up Sunday morning from Yakima, and joined us around the fire before we all headed into town for breakfast.

Sunday, we went fishing again.

Late on Sunday, the clouds started coming in over the canyon walls, but we escaped before the rain hit.

Ozie and Jim share a river bank during the brief PMD hatch on Sunday.

I tried to concentrate on coaching the other guys, but did manage to cast a line from time to time. Shortly after this shot was taken, I broke off a large trout under the red bush, victim to my over-eagerness. The resulting cursing was audible in the next county.

We didn’t catch that many fish, but we saw tons of bighorn sheep in the distance, and lots of herons up close (the bighorn picture was from earlier this year, by the way).

Oh, and even though I don’t take many fish pictures, Keith Anderson does — here’s Jim’s first trout ever on a fly rod!

Planning for next year’s Old Fart Fishing Weekend will begin — well, probably next year. But if you’re interested in coming along for the camping trip or the fishing, drop me a line.

Scott

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