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Music For Bull Trout Specialists


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Ronan's report

Wednesday, 11th April 2007
Español - Carlos

When it's all happening, the music you are listening to simply exists in the moment. But subconsciously, and in time, the music actually becomes a part of the moment, defining it in your memory and acting as a trigger, like a miraculous hyperlink of the mind. When you hear that specific music a week, a month, a year, a decade later, it takes you right back to that time and place. In my opinion, this is the most fascinating and powerful function of music in our lives!

Paul hinted at this yesterday when he talked about how his campfire and traveling music goes through phases and described how each phase related to a specific trip, location, or group of mates. Incredibly, we all have these musical associations in our lives. Here are three of mine.

I'm in the middle of a Montana summer and flying solo down some deserted highway or gravel road headed for the next river. I can't name any names here because this scenario replayed itself hundreds of times over the last decade on various roads and destinations. I have the windows down and Robert Earl Keen blasting out of the stereo. The music just feels right as the miles melt away under the big blue sky. Now when I hear those songs I get a homesick for the mountains and can't help but count the days until my next trip back to West Yellowstone.

We were camped out on a tiny, deserted mangrove island in the Bahamas about 15 miles by boat from the nearest town. For 11 days we were on our own, with nothing to do but fish. Unfortunately, we didn't have any music with us. By day 4 all our ice was melted, the beer was gone, and the daily routine was being dictated by the tides. By day 7 we were really dialed in to the fishing but the sun, salt, and lack of showers may have been getting to us. On day 8, wading the flat in front of camp we (I don't know who started it) spontaneously broke out into song. An off key rendition of Jimi Hendrix “Voodoo Chile”, complete with screaming air guitar. Imaginary music for imaginary saltfly. It was the defining moment of the trip.

We were becoming bull trout specialists last fall during a week of exploring the Canadian wilderness. Bull trout command respect, so music for bull trout specialists should do the same. Nothing fancy or delicate. Leave your 3 weights, dry flies, and Paul Simon CDs at home. Paul and I found Rage Against The Machine to be a good match, especially when trying to stay awake long enough to find the next campsite while hopelessly lost in a maze of logging roads in the middle of the night. Whenever I hear those songs I think of the powerful mountains, the incredible fish, and the look on Paul's face when the border guard temporarily ruined his love life. Here's to that incredible trip and hopefully many more.

Now back to my real job (more on that another time). They let me wear headphones.



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