Things were pretty esoteric in the boat today; Bill and Mike, both from the University of Missouri—Bill the statistician/geneticist and Mike, the research physicist—were guests of Ron Barch. Conversational topics ranged from quantum physics to the statistic I used for my last degree. Suffice it to say, I’ve never had anyone in my boat who knows discriminant function analysis, let alone one having written a statistics textbook that includes discussion of it! Nor do I anticipate it ever happening again (unless Bill returns)! Better yet, the guys were flat-out fun—lots of laughs and stories from the irrepressible Ron.
The connection the three guys enjoy is their bamboo rod making. Bill makes 30 plus bamboo rods a year and donates most of them to Trout Unlimited Chapters across the United States for fund raising. Bill had donated a rod to Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited for the 2011 banquet, and Ron had arranged a float trip with me as thanks for the generous gift of the bamboo rod. We finished the day with what could only be termed a gourmet banquet prepared by Dr. Bob, Ron’s best friend and former colleague of mine. George, another friend of Ron’s, opened his riverside home for the guys’ stay and Bob’s dinner. Needless to say, quite a day—one that I will remember for a long, long time.
Both guys hooked steelhead, but the steelhead pulled out a bunch of tricks from their fighting arsenal to elude the net. Bill, though, prevailed and brought the steelhead below to hand. Persistence and faith that the steelhead hold in the run you’re fishing are requisite; a number of guides and fishermen we spoke to today in our Pine Street to Boat House float lamented the tough bite. Hang in there, though, and you will be rewarded. Better yet, catch a spot with a pod of fish, and you may well be into multiple hookups without moving the boat. Bill’s chrome took a Flashback Stone.
Thanks guys for a terrific time! Ron, you are the best; your commitment to TU is exemplary and a model for us all. Hope we can get together with Bill and Mike on the water again.
Captain Tom Kuieck