A word or two from Steffen
The final group of guests had just left the Lodge and outside my cozy camp-office a bunch of demo-rods where hanging-out in the rod-rack. They where still shiny and crispy and far from virgins as they were when I set them up in the spring. Their cork handles are ‘molded’ from shaking hands with many of our guests and silver scales are scattered and etched to their blanks, bearing witness of many battles and victories. In less than 5 month these rods and reels had gained more combat-experience than most of their brothers and sisters ever will.
My eyelids were heavy and maybe it was the wind or the vodka in my tea – but I think I heard the rods talking! Yes – the Yellow Loop rod was definitely giggling away about an unbelievable June-session with fish everywhere in a record-low spring Krivetz. Not the regular stuff ‘she said’ but real fighters close to the 20 pound mark – and I really had to bend over right down to my skirt to drain their power. Oh yeah – said a bragging G. Loomis rod – you are indeed a soft stick miss Loop, but you should be glad that I was up front when the first autumn fish were entering the river – It takes a rough guy with a strong back-bone to crack them ! Never mind the monsters – said a Sage single handled rod – I was there when the summer fish were chasing tiny flies and I even caught a handful of beauties on a regular drifted dryfly ! Oh shut up, you are all a bunch of babies – squeaked a truly hardened Loop traditional Reel from the bottom shelf. I was here in the beginning, when the fish outnumbered the mosquitoes and were all as long as a pair of hip waders! I had my throne on the verandah of the old Umba lodge and I remember the days when the guides where rough but enthusiastic and the kitchen was more quantity than quality. I have seen them grow up to become the best salmon guides and the finest kitchen staff on the peninsula. I have served three different camp managers for several seasons and I have tamed hundreds of salmon with dozens of clients. I was even there, in the old Grumann-boat days, when the famous Billy Butt fly ‘raped’ his first fish back in -98 !
You are indeed a mean old wheel pop-eye – said a couple of extremely battled Bogdan reels – but you can lie down now and lick your six sore ball-bearings and let us take over – and don’t think you know it all Mr. Loop! We actually found a handful of new salmon-pools in the river this season!. One of them in the rapid between the two Rat pools – and to get a fish out of that current, you need a real serious brake-system like ours – we are simply the best for that!!!!
Steefan ! Steeeefan – telephone ! OOOOOH my God – there is Nadia from the kitchen waving the wireless at me ! Hello – Umba lodge – Steffen here’. Hi you half-Russian salmoooo-maniac – are you planning to hibernate in the Dome? Or will you come down and answer your phone in the office? Clients are calling every day, trying to book for next year! That was the never resting Mr. Baldursson, having a laugh at the other end. Yes of course I will come – I just have to pack up and get ready. I looked out the window towards the rod-corner and made eye-contact with the Loop 2W – was it the one I used back in autumn -95 when I caught my biggest Umba–salmon? There was still light and I think there was something rolling just outside the big rock upstream the boat-landing. I have to run Arni – there is someone knocking at the door! Time to leave – time to get a kick from the real world with its crowded highways, television and politics – but not without a last fish from a home-court pool on tried and tested outfit ! I grabbed the rod with the old reel Loop reel and time stopped again – for a while!