“Doc of the Drakes”
Since today is the first day of June and the weather for the next week looks like it’ll back up that fact, I think I am well within range to start letting my mind wander to the insect hatches that produce Summer dry fly fishing. Whenever my mind starts to wander to that topic, I inevitably think about a video that was shown at the 2012 Fly Fishing Film Tour entitled “Doc of the Drakes.” In it, a film crew follows Pete Wood, a guide with Silver Creek Outfitters in Idaho, and Dr. Robert Franklin as they fish the brown drake hatch on Silver Creek. This hatch is so plentiful that even the biggest fish in the river rise to the surface to get their fill–even though the diet of these brutes usually consist of smaller fish.
Any normal video that follows a guide and a client fishing this hatch would turn up some amazing footage, complete with several hero shots of the client holding up enormous fish. But this video is different. See, Dr. Franklin is a retired doctor in his 80’s and suffers from fairly severe shaking brought on by his battle with Parkinson’s. These shakes, plus the added pressure of a camera crew hoping to document your success and the knowledge that the hatch only lasts for 2-3 days maximum results in missed fish, after missed fish, after missed fish. At one point in the full version of this film, the filmmaker begins to question whether or not he jinxed Dr. Franklin out of his once-a-year chance to enjoy the success of this epic hatch.
At that moment, a realization hits. While the Doc does manage to stick an absolute beast of a fish at the end (a moment that made an entire theater of fly fishermen gasp because of the size of the fish), it’s apparent that this video really has very little to do with the fish. The video, just like fly fishing itself, is about something more. It’s about the patience shown by the guide, Pete. It’s about the friendship that exists between these two anglers from completely different walks of life. It’s about a resolve to never give up, no matter the circumstances. It’s about treasuring every moment you’re able to spend on the water–the ones that end up fish-less, and the ones that end with the fish of a lifetime in the net.
Enjoy the video. Even though it’s only a 5 minute version of the original, I think the point can still be readily felt.