Andy Dear | Sunday, 23 June 2019

Sometimes seemingly random, unrelated things come together in such a manner that you can't just chalk it up to chance. Take today for example; my old mentor in the anthropology program at The University of Texas at San Antonio, Dr. Dan Gelo and I finally got to fish together for the first time in 20 years. Although the fishing wasn't what I would classify as epic, the serendipitous, peripheral experiences we shared today were about as epic as they come.

  I have mentioned Dan before in a previous Front Page entitled "Out With The Old, In With The Old". Not only was he my mentor in the Anthropology program, he is also a fine musician with whom I have shared several memorable jam sessions over the years. Additionally, he is a well traveled, very knowledgeable fly fisherman that has a passion for fishing that is only rivaled by his love for the guitar. Back in the late 1990's Dan and I took several float trips down the Guadalupe together that resulted in memories that are as deeply etched in our mind's eyes as the limestone canyon walls of the river on which they were carved. Needless to say, I had high hopes for today's trip, and I was not disappointed.

  I picked Dan up at around 7:30 am, and after exchanging pleasantries, we made our way to the launch point a few miles away. On the way, we engaged in a discussion about the American Indian uniface scraper stone tool I found a few weeks ago while rock hounding on the banks of the Guadalupe with my son Jackson. It was a cerebral experience that I wrote about in a recent Front Page entitled "Primitive Kinship". I knew Dan would appreciate the find, as he is one of the pre-eminent authorities in the USA on Plains Indians, specifically the Comanche Tribe, and has written several books on the subject. As I expected, he was both excited and fascinated by the find, but not necessarily surprised, as this area of the nation has been inhabited by humans of all tribes, races, and creeds for thousands of years.

  After a short trek to the launch site...which just happens to be in a rural, but very public park we proceeded to organize and prep the gear for today's float. As Dan was rigging his 4wt, I partook in the old southern pastime of "milling around". If you google that term you'll come up with the definition "to move around with no particular purpose or direction, usually while waiting for someone". That's a pretty accurate description of an activity I engage in frequently since I got married in 2004. Anyway, BACK TO THE STORY.

  As I continued to "mill around" next to the water's edge, I casually scanned the ground, hoping for the possibility of another primitive discovery. Unbelievably, right there on the bank, where dozens and dozens of people play, swim and fish almost daily, lye a beautiful "Perdaneles style" projectile point. Blown away by the fact that I was privileged enough to find a second stone tool, I immediately handed it to Dan for an expert opinion. Judging by the look on his face, I think he thought I was playing some kind of joke on him, as not 10 minutes before, we were discussing the stone scraper from a few weeks ago. Now, right here at my foot was a second, even better example of archaic craftsmanship than the previous piece found just a few miles downstream.

  Dan seems to be mildly convinced that I have recently developed some sort of clairvoyant style sixth sense when it comes to finding primitive stone tools. As much as I would like for that to be the case, the reality is that its much more likely to be a good ol' case of the blind squirrel and the nut syndrome. That however is not going to stop me from continuing to scour the banks for these fascinating remnants of the past whenever I go fishing.

  As for the float down the river, it proved to be every bit as enjoyable if not more so than the trips we took almost two decades ago. Were both older, hopefully more than a little wiser, certainly in possession of much less hair, and what is left is significantly more grey. What hasn't changed is our love for the water, our respect for the fish, and our passion for an unrolling loop over the mirrored surface of a local river that has provided both sustenance and recreation for the local people going back many more centuries than most of us probably realize.

  And, in spite of the off colored water and above average flow, we even managed to hook a few fish. It is days like this that remind me that the catch really is incidental.

Hope you all have a great week,