Redside Poisoning
Redside poisoning - a sudden paradoxical condition characterized by unusual lethargy, loss of interest, and boredom with fishing in an otherwise previously addicted, obsessed, and normally enthusiatic fisherman. Indigenous to only a few rivers in the west, and actually common on the Deschutes river in Oregon during the summer months. Limited almost exlusively to flyfishermen, and even more specifically to dry fly flyfishermen. The condition is temporary, with a variable refractory period, and non-fatal. i.e. a piscatorial detumescence.
John Soreng marched up the trail from the river with an exhausted look on his face. He was sweating profusely from the heat and hiking in neoprene waders. He flopped down in the closest folding chair, poured himself the better part of pseudo-martini over rocks
"I am completely fished out! I don't care if I catch another fish", he stated emphatically. Then he exhaled and nearly melted into his chair.
"Where's everyone else," I asked.
"Out there," he indicated with a sweep of his arm from upstream to downstream. "The fishing is so good here that they all decided to skip dinner and fish right through until dark. But I've had it. I don't care if I catch another fish."
Now, this all struck me at that moment as a little strange. Not only had I never seen or heard a fisherman say those words, but I would certainly never have suspected it of John Soreng, who seemed as properly obsessed to me as a man should be.
We were on the fourth day of my very first float down the Deschutes during the Salmonfly hatch, in the days before the articles and the crowds. We had had good fishing, even moments of great fishing, and then we had entered this particular stretch which looked rather nondescript. At John's direction we had pulled in and camped on an exposed point with a sweeping view of the river. The heat, without shade, was oppressive. But John had insisted. Once the basics of camp were unloaded, rods were strung and the evening schedule was outlined.
"This is a fish night, Betty Soreng said. "Everyone catch and keep your own fish for dinner. I have a roast I'll put on as a back up."
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