Do you ever have those moments that you know right when they are happening that you are going to remember them for the rest of your life? Moments that make the hair on your arms stand up and give you butterflies every time you think about them? I was lucky enough to experience something like this just recently. No, it wasn’t a 30 inch trout or a 150 pound tarpon, but something even better. I know what you’re thinking, but bare with me.
First, let’s rewind a little bit. About two years. Around the time that I started dating the girl of my dreams (@brooke_likethetrout). For about the first year of our relationship, Brooke would occasionally come fishing with me, but didn’t ever give it a try. After about a year of being frustrated that I left pretty much every weekend to go fish, she finally decided to come along with me on one of my trips.
Brooke and I spent the next year living and fishing together all throughout the western US and having plenty of adventures. From big hopper crushing cutties, to streamer eating bulls, sleeping in the car, and countless miles were driven and hiked. It was no longer “what are we doing this weekend?” it was “where are we fishing this weekend?” After months of planning trips and working around our schedules, everything lined up so that we could both make it back to the place that we shared some amazing days the year before.
After a morning of driving and a serious hike leading into the lake, we were back. It felt good to survey the surrounding area, breathing in the high mountain air. We fished all around the first lake, catching a few fish. We reached the trail for the second lake and I started to get pretty nervous about the upcoming task.
There was no trail to the second lake so we had to bushwhack a path through the deadfall and thick pines and aspens, rod tips dodging trees all the way. After a short time, we emerged on the shores of a pristine alpine lake, surrounded on one side by massive cliffs, the rest of the lake surrounded by thick greenery. I suggested that Brooke go take a look and start fishing the corner of the lake. While she was distracted, I placed a certain shiny object in my fly box and was just getting ready to walk over, heart pounding and butterflies going crazy— “I got one!” Brooke yelled out. I nearly dropped my box and the precious contents. I set the box down and grabbed the net. I ran over to the shore to see her hooked up with a beauty of a tiger trout!
Hoping that she didn’t suspect anything, I told Brooke to keep fishing. I walked back over to my backpack a way down the shoreline. I grabbed the box and tried to remember all the lines I had rehearsed in the previous weeks, and pretty much drew a blank. Time to wing it. I walked up to Brooke for the final time, and dropped down onto one knee, and held out the fly box. I tried my best to sound confident, and asked “Do you think there’s any flies in here that will catch a good one for me?” She looked down and gasped at the engagement ring nestled in between various nymphs. After struggling and poorly presenting my feelings for her due to nervousness, I managed to make it to the most important part. “I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?…” Without hesitation, “Yes!” Phew.
It’s hard to explain the power of the feelings associated with those words until you experience them for yourself. I am glad that I was able to plan a perfect venue for a perfect moment. I am extremely lucky and wouldn’t trade places with anyone in the world. I also am very thankful to Brooke for putting up with and embracing our crazy lifestyle, and a different destination every week. So fellas, next time you go fishing, maybe try inviting your girl, you just might be glad you did!