The first time I met Mike he was fishing for bull trout on the Metolious River in Central Oregon with Chris. Rather than each of them taking a spot on the river and fishing independently, they were fishing one at a time and sharing the water. They netted for each other, tied up different rigs, and spotted feeding fish. Even when they both had rods in their hands they stayed within easy talking distance of one another and didn’t hesitate to pick up their lines if one of them had a fish on.
Later when I joined them both for a day on the water they worked me into the rotation. It was a different approach than much of the fishing I’d done with people in the past where we’d go to the river together but then split up, maybe keeping each other in sight, but rarely working a run together. Mike and Chris’s approach was much, much better.
After Chris moved to Vermont, I became Mike’s primary fishing partner. We split time equally between fishing one at a time, and dividing up the river. Sometimes this meant we would work our way up opposite banks at the same pace, other times one of us would start at the tail of a run and one at the front. This way we could still both be fishing our own rods and water, but also be taking part in the other person’s experience. The only thing that can really beat watching your fishing buddy catch a beautiful trout is catching one yourself, and sometimes not even that.
Now that we’ve added George into the mix Mike and I stay closer together than ever on the river. Usually we’ll fish two rods, but sometimes just one, and whoever is not wearing George in the pack usually takes over most of the netting, tying and releasing duties (it’s really hard to see what you’re doing upclose when you have the Ergo on). It’s maybe not the most efficient system, but diving into the river to net a huge trout for Mike while he simultaneously keeps his line tight and George happy isn’t something I’d give up for anything.