Fishing Trucks

Fishing Trucks

Andy Dear | Sunday, 18 August 2019

In my opinion, nobody paints a more accurate picture through the written word, of what fly fishing should be, than John Gierach. He's insightful, emotional, witty, and most importantly relatable. I first discovered John's work over 20 years ago, and since then have digested much of what he's put out there for public consumption. To be honest, I don't think I've ever actually read a bad Gierach essay. There are however a few that for me stand out above the rest. One of those is from the 1988 publication, The View From Rat Lake entitled "The Fishing Car".

  The Fishing Car details John's experiences as a young lad with his Uncle Leonard, and the importance that his Uncle's black station wagon played in their angling adventures. It's an insightful and emotional tribute to the importance of the peripheral things that continually remind us of the meaningful angling experiences in our lives. This story really struck a nerve with me because like all of us, I have some very strong memories of the fishing and hunting experiences that wouldn't have been possible without my dad's 1972 Chevrolet pickup truck.

  To be honest, I don't have any memories that don't include that truck. I was only 2 years old when he purchased it, so every experience I have that involves the outdoors revolves around that truck. Utilitarian uses aside, it was a beautiful example of what automobiles used to be. It was large, heavy and powerful and most importantly, operated without the use of computers to control everything both inside and outside the cabs of modern trucks.

  Over the years, I added some very important personal  artistic touches to the inside of the cab. If I recall it was somewhere around 1977 that I applied the requisite kid's stickers I procured out of a package of Topp's Wacky Pack Bubble Gum to the headliner for public display. One of them was a miniaturized movie poster from the cinematic masterpiece Jaws, and the other was a cartoon drawing of the famous comic book character, The Incredible Hulk. Ironically both of these stickers were still there in all their faded glory when my dad finally sold that truck in thelate 1990s.

  Like Gierach one of the things that I remember the most, were the aromas that over the years had permeated every crack and crevice of the interior of that old truck. It was a unique room note comprised mostly of Folger's Coffee, Lonestar Beer, and Winston Regular cigarettes, topped off with subtle undertones of various types of fast food, Hoppes #9 Gun Cleaner, and just a touch of Uncle Josh pork rind juice and plastic worm lubricant.

  I know hindsight is always 20/20, but unlike some of my recent automobiles, I don't know that I remember that truck ever having mechanical malfunctions that left us stranded....and man did we put the miles on it. Most of the time with a twelve-foot Sears Gamefisher Jon boat in the back that served double duty not only as a go anywhere fishing craft but a mobile duck blind as well.

  The last time I remember being in that truck with my dad was somewhere around 1997 on a deer hunting trip to Batesville Texas. I remember looking down at the floorboard, which by this time was suffering from the effects of age related corrosion, and in some spots, I could actually see the highway passing underneath us. I knew at this point that after almost thirty years of facilitating life changing moments in the outdoors, that its lifespan was probably coming to an end.

 My old man finally sold that truck a few years later, and I feel certain that there were probably more than a few tears shed upon reflecting how many good times were had with that faithful old companion. The important thing, however, is that the memories of the experiences remain as strong as ever, and continue to influence our lives even after the vehicle is long gone.

Hope you all have a great week,