Friday, August 2, 2019

The day John and Bill arguably saved Jim's life

Or it seemed that way to Gwinnup and Prater on that fateful last day of July 2019. The Loveland Fishing Club's annual trek into the high country had wound its way west to the Delaney Butte lakes, legendary for big trout and equally big, murderous hordes of biting insects. On this fateful morning, most of those bugs seemed to realize some of us were planning to fish with a mosquito imitation, and vowed to keep us off the water.

It came to pass, not long after dawn, that Bambi-like Jim Clune emerged from that Lincoln Navigator of his wearing nothing a naive grin,short pants and sandals. In an instant, John Gwinnup and Bill Prater fell upon him and began dousing the lad's bare head and hands with insect repellant. By the thousands, though, the mosquitoes, fell on Jim's bony, bare knees and tried to carry him off into the sagebrush. Only a half bottle or so of Cutter's kept them at bay until Jim could slip into his waders and rubber fins, surviving to fish another day.

It seemed like those damned mosquitoes could bite right through the fabric of our waders. But all of Loveland's finest anglers eventually escaped to the unseasonably calm, clear water  for a memorable confrontation with healthy, gullible trout, who'd obviously been fattening up on mosquitoes. With Jim, John and Bill, though grimly concentrating on their fishing gear instead of lifesaving, were Jim Visger, Dave Johnson and Pat Mikulak. (Rick Palmieri and Pat Weller drove up for the day Tuesday, and concentrated on biting fish on North Michigan.)

A few million biting insects aside, it was another great club fishing trip to the high country, with better than average Jackson County weather, cooperative trout and understanding wives.
Club attendance was down this year, for a variety of reasons. So plan on joining us in 2020. We'll want to book our campsites at Ranger Lakes early.

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