Last Cast | We continue with our stories from the book “Fishing with Kay”
By David Kenvin

One fine summer day Kay give me a ring. He wanted to know if I would take him and a friend fishing in the boat on the Rio Grande. I told him “sure no problem” and we arranged to meet on the river next morning.

I met them at the boat ramp. Kay’s friend (who will remain anonymous) had little or no experience fishing or in fact not much if anything about boats. We set him up in the front seat with a rod and explained some about casting and where to to put the fly. A few practice casts and he was good to go. Now to fish successfully from a drift boat means you can get the fly about a rod’s length from the boat. Kay took the back seat and I rowed.

The trip was pretty uneventful for the first couple of hours. As I remember Kay caught a few fish but his poor buddy went fishless. Not that the fish didn’t come to his fly but his inexperience made it tough for him to set the hook with the right timing (usually too late).

After a while Kay suggested that he would switch places with me so I could get in a little fishing. At this point the river was really mild with no known or dangerous structures or rapids. So we agreed to switch and since I didn’t bring a rod I would use Kay’s.

Off we went joyfully down the river. I was standing in the back of the boat casting back upstream and not paying much attention to what was happening up front. After just a few minutes all hell broke loose. I looked up to see us heading right in to a huge cottonwood which had fallen into the river. Kay was stroking the oars like a madman but was not making much headway. I jumped to grab an oar which was already caught under the tree. For those of you who don’t know, Kay is a little guy but he was gripping that oar like a 900 pound gorilla. I needed to get the oar slid back into the boat while Kay was trying his best to row. Not going to happen.

KER SPLASH !!! Next thing I know I’m in the water and I had dropped Kay’s expensive rod but I had his fly line so all would be good. Kay was also in water on the other side of the boat. By the best stroke of luck Kay’s friend was sitting calmly in his seat. Kay and I started swimming the boat to shore which at this time was filling with water, since the plug had come out during the action. All the while, Kay’s friend was silent and motionless. When we were about six feet from the shore Kay’s buddy gets in the rowing seat and starts rowing back out into the current. In my most calming voice I said “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” He replied “You’re going to hit the shore”. Again in a calm voice I said “WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE’RE TRYIN’ TO DO?”

With the boat beached and now full of water, we scooped it out with beer cans which took more than a few minutes. Then I remembered that Kay’s rod was still on bottom of the mighty Rio Grande. I still had his fly line so I started pulling it until I got about 20 feet in and up came the end of the line. Somehow the fly line had broken. I looked at Kay and asked how that could have happened. He sheepishly said the the fly line had broken before but he had SUPER GLUED IT. That’s our favorite fishing buddy.