Swinging Through COVID-19

“F***” is the general sentiment these days, as I worry about keeping my own family healthy and worry about friends losing their jobs. …

But, like you, I escape to and take solace and strength from our community that keeps posting shit on my cellphone keeping the chrome stoke and the stoke of our shared humanity alive. 

Hang in there buddy.

Email: April 1, 2020 from Colonel Mike Dixon, USMC, to Chick Takahashi

My name is Chick Takahashi. I’m a guide.

Steelheading in the time of Coronavirus…Is an oxymoron.

Meaning …

It ain’t happening folks.

The run slipped through last March without too much resistance. And the prospect of us being waist deep, swinging this year in a sideways OP rain or maybe a deep coastal Oregon mist … well, it is the stuff of both dreams and longing and frustration.

And so we sit homebound, waiting for a different kind of storm to pass.

I don’t know about you, but I suspect that, like me, you are living vicariously and warding off cabin fever, by tapping into your social media network. 

Normally I do not like being around a lot of people and prefer sittin’ at the top of a run with no one below me.

But these days, as my book of business is shot to hell, and we are waiting to flatten the curve and open up this damn country, I have fallen back on the community that keeps me sane.

The network that keeps me going reflects my personality and may reflect yours also: It includes in no particular order:  Wonderfully (but increasingly) crazy homebound family members; our two-handed community of artists, conservationists and Spey junkies; and most importantly, the guides, outfitters and shop owners fighting to hang on during a time that no one asked for.

Our community on social media screams of resilience and optimism of better days ahead.

So this is an open thank you letter to you who keep us spiritually fed and alive on Instagram and Facebook…and more importantly…in real life.

You are the folks who help a guide like me keep the stoke alive. Search them out on Instagram or Facebook. Tell them Chick Takahashi sent ‘ya … hang in there.

RCHarrington – for his moments of Zen, art, the River Rambler podcast and his dog the White Devil. Mike Kinney – for his eloquent transition from guide, rod designer and sage to wildlife photographer. BKruk – for his love of the upper Columbia, Ducati’s, bull dogs and his support of any one who shows an interest in the sport of Spey casting … Art Lingren and Adriancortessteelhead – for your fly tying artistry. Whitney Gould – for your casting excellence, your dedication and your dogs in the drift boat. Mia and Marty Sheppard: for your pure love of guiding, the lifestyle you live … fishing, hunting and the importance of access to public lands. The Hitchin’ Post in Melrose Montana for its picture of Jim Harrison above the bar. I am sure he wanted to be a steelheader and not just a poet. For the Red Shed and the community that Poppy and Linda have created. And all of the others that I scroll through every day … Moldychum. Bloodknots … JMReidbamboo and @ReidFamilyFive for your canemanship. Magogsmelt, Socallies23, Ginclear, Creekside media, Samdollar, Laytonam, All Waters Angling, Psychotimmy67, Speynation, Native Fish Society, The Drake, Misirlou62, Capt.maher.fly, Katmaitrphylodge, Captainjames15, Greaseliner,  Eoinfairgieve, Tim Gelinas and his Farlex reels. Creekside Angling.  

I am sure you have your list of folks who post great images that allow you to escape for a few minutes. Give a shout out to them, and here’s to getting back out onto the rivers we love sooner rather than later.

Stay safe everyone.

Chick Takahashi

Ben Howard Road

Sultan, WA.

Editor’s Note: Chick Takahashi is a fictional character who has also appeared in past issues of Swing the Fly, including “Up the Ben Howard Road.”