|My son Doug and brother Bruce, launching into Dacey Reservoir|
(Grant Range in the background)
There is no question that Christ had agápe love for mankind; He was the living sacrifice for all us sinners with full knowledge that He created us with free will in order that we may choose to follow Him out of love… or not. God wants us to choose to become Christ-like by the power of the Holy Spirit, and therefore agápe others that He created in his likeness. And it is no coincidence that God’s greatest commandment is to agápe God and agápe our fellow man (Mark 12:30-31). Thank goodness that is possible through the power of the Spirit given some of these characters we find living amongst us, and you know of whom I mean.
So, when I think of my love for Bruce how did it manifest itself on this visit? Did I allow him to stay in our home even though it inconvenienced our family? Did I share my food and drink with him? Did I use my vacation time to be with him, in his presence, accepting any behavior or habits that I might find awkward or even stressful? Did I do any of these things with the expectation that he’d reciprocate? And, if he never reciprocates will I refuse a request for a return visit in the future?
|Backwoods Bruce and FisherDad|
The last time Bruce and I got together was at our brother Neal’s funeral, ten years ago this coming November (our mom passed almost three years earlier). We communicate via phone and email occasionally, but most of our conversations focus on our mutual affection for nature. Our most recent conversations drift towards our health as we push into our retirement years. Last fall Bruce proposed the idea of a visit to Las Vegas (he’s the resident naturalist of Ojai, California), partly to be with our family but also with the notion of a shared fishing trip. He said my recent posts on Dacey Reservoir’s large rainbows stirred a strong desire to try float-tubing for the first time. There is excellent fishing in the coastal mountains around Ojai, most significant being the Sespe, Sisquoc, and Casitas waters, but none ever presented the need to float tube on still waters. Bruce was also intrigued with the notion of large trout in the middle of the Great Basin desert... who knew? And thus we hatched a four-day visit with two of them set aside for fishing Dacey.
|Bruce fighting a nineteen inch rainbow that was foraging along the boulders|
|The rainbow in the net|
|Plump thirteen inch rainbow that held over from the fall stocking program|
(taken on a callebaetis nymph)
|Largest trout of the trip: twenty-two inch hen fish dropping roe|
|Bruce fighting an eighteen inch male from the Fish Cat|
|Golden spawning colors of the eighteen inch male rainbow|
(at first sight Bruce thought it was a brown trout)
|Close-up of the toothy hooked jaw; note the dislocated upper maxillary|
(Bruce relocated it before release)
|Doug cradling his first fish of the day|
|Bruce holding a magnificent nineteen inch rainbow|
|Twenty inch male fooled by a damsel fly nymph|
|FisherDad and a fine nineteen inch male|
When Doug joined us on Wednesday the fishing got even better, although it took a while to heat up. We all caught good fish, but as Pastor Maclean said to his sons in Robert Redford's movie, “…it’s just that The Lord had particularly blessed me.” Of the eleven trout I landed, the top four were 22, 21, 20, and 19 inches. All of Bruce’s were carbon copies from Monday. Doug hooked into a rather large rainbow that he played for about ten minutes. After hearing a level of stress in Doug's voice as he shouted out from afar, “This one is huge!”, I rowed as fast as I could to get to him. Witnessing the trout near the surface I easily had it at 20 inches. I attempted to scoop it into the landing net several times, but it was not ready. Growing anxious, Doug tried to muscle it towards me whereupon the tippet blood knot gave out and we lost the trout without a picture. I know Doug and I will always have our memory of that great fish and our failed attempt to land it despite the absence of photographic evidence (maybe it’ll grow to 23 inches as we retell the story to others over the years). Doug, by the way, was the only one of us to land any largemouth bass, all three of which he connected with near the southwest part of the reservoir.
|Another spawn-colored eighteen inch male rainbow|
|Fine looking eighteen inch rainbow landed by Bruce|
|Yet another large male that came to our nets|