so i went fly-fishing last weekend with my dad and my brothers in the smoky mountains in tennessee. it was the first ever ‘johnson family fishing tournament’ – complete with winners and prizes. day one was an unexpected success for me, and i went into day two in second place, fishing for the win.
i thought i had a chance.
my two member team of me and my brother scott began fishing up the river, catching no fish that were big enough to keep. as we rounded a particular bend in the river, i looked to the bank to see about 15 people eating lunch on the side of the river. i thought, ‘hey! a crowd!’ catch a fish here and they’ll love it!
no such luck.
i looked ahead to see a foot bridge ahead crossing over the river. i fished for like 30 seconds more and looked up again and there were about NINE photographers lining up on the footbridge. i’m not talking ‘hey, how do i get my point-and-shoot off video mode?’ photographers. i’m talking, ‘wait, where are they? i can’t see them around my GIANT camera.’ photographers. nine. catch a fish here and its in national geographic!
no such luck.
anything and everything that could go wrong went wrong between where i was and the bridge. i got hung up in the trees twice. now i’m perched on a rock in the middle of a rushing river, untangling invisible fishing line the size of a hair from a tree. oh, hey photographers. i get my fly untangled from the tree, and the next cast i make, my fishing rod literally falls apart in my hands. the tip of my rod flies into the river. now i’m thrashing around in the water trying to grab the pieces of my fly rod before they get swept downriver. oh, hey there bridge. i stumble back up the river, slipping on rocks, putting myself back in position to catch a monster fish, wrestle it into my net and stand triumphantly as my conquest is documented for all to see.
instead, my next step falls, not onto the bottom of the river as i expect, but into some kind of freak, underwater river hole, and i disappear. at one moment, i’m in knee-deep water, the next i’ve somehow submerged myself in the kiddie pool. i come back to the surface soaked, panicked, and unable to breath because freezing mountain river water has now filled up my pants. oh, hey paparazzi. i grab all my stuff and sat hiding underneath the bridge for like ten minutes before i came out.
and yes, they were still there.