length, of his flyline. Let it be stated here that, under strict experimental conditions, the first generation synthetic flylines will, when subjected to the stress of a "rivercrosser" NOT crossing the river, stretch by a factor of 50%, retain a monofilament like but totally cracked coating, and are henceforth useless for their original purpose. Additionally, Dave calculated that it would take a reel with the capacity to hold 1 1/2 miles of backing to retrieve a successful "rivercrossing" on that river. How Skip got back has not been recorded. Presumably, he never really left the near shoreline much anyway.
Knowing this story did not deter me from jumping at the chance to purchase a real, honest-to-god "rivercrosser", which I bought for $5 from the now defunct pawn shop that bordered the old Caddisfly
Shop location across from the train station. Not a "Float Tube", this was the original item, canvas construction and all. The price alone should have warned me. And, the pawnshop dealer should have added, "And whatever you do, DON'T GET IT WET"
Greg Knecht and I in those days were regularly fishing the Willamette in town, specifically the stump hole and bar above Autzen footbridge. The only problem was our wives, or at least mine, then, who complained that our evening fishing interfered with dinner. In the never ending, then, pursuit of an idyllic blending of fishing and marital bliss, Greg and I decided to start fishing the evening rise at the footbridge, but float and fish our way down to Valley River Inn in our respective devices where we would meet our wives, shed our waders and emerge, erudite, gentile men fishers, to enjoy a gourmet meal with our ladies.
As I considered the possible problems, I anticipated it would be difficult to wade the shallow mid-river bars, and retain my "rivercrosser", so I tied a short rope to a free loop on the tube, and the other end to my belt.
The evening started magnificently. We both took fish after fish to the applause of onlookers on the footbridge as we worked our way down to the start of the rapids. Since we were exploring new water, Greg took the main chute down the city side, or I think he did, because I rapidly got swept down the northside chute. Once I lost touch with the bottom, that was the end of "control" as I knew it. The current swept my around a corner, into some trees, and past a snag sticking up in the water. I
thanked my luck at missing it as I shot by, then suddenly stopped dead in the fast current, snubbed tight by a loop of my rope around the snag. The current buildup pouring over the tube on the upstream side threatened to fill my waders, and the rope was stretched taut as a cable. I twisted and strained
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