The dizzying Ten Days of Tenkara Luminaries that recently finished here in Montana contained a lot of very happy moments. But it also contained one very sad incident, which Daniel Galhardo wrote about on his blog. It’s a story that every angler should read, and I hope you’ll pass the link around.
While fishing on the Firehole River, Daniel came across a bird (a Clark’s Nutcracker, uniquely responsible for distributing the seed of the high-elevation whitebark pine tree) in severe distress. The bird had become both entangled and hooked by a length of tippet and flies that had been left in a tree. Fortunately, Daniel was able to free the bird from its predicament.
Daniel was alone on this section of the Firehole when the incident happened. Brian Flemming (shooting the tenkara movie) was the first one to see Daniel, soon after he had freed the bird. He says Daniel was visibly shaken by the experience, to the point that he ignored rising fish on the Firehole and just stared at the tree where the bird had been trapped. Daniel said he felt a sense of collective guilt — as both a member and leader in a group (fly anglers) partly responsible for the bird’s situation.
One silver lining: The bird was able to fly after being freed, and if its leg recovers from the trauma it may survive long-term. But I think I will have this haunting image in my head every time I get snagged in an overhead branch:
And I hope you will, too.