Old Bull, Young Bull

November 5, 2007 By: jmerwin

Lake Powell Fly FishingPAGE, Ariz., Oct. 24 – The scenery here on Lake Powell is just extraordinary. At about 186 miles long and hard on the border between Arizona and Utah, the big lake is tightly framed by towering red-sandstone cliffs that seem to glow in morning sunlight. They are the exposed remains of the vast Colorado River canyon complex flooded by Glen Canyon dam in the 1960s, where the watery fingers of countless side canyons now hold smallmouth bass and landlocked stripers.
Jason Brunner and I are scheduled to fish together this morning. He is a talented young rod designer for St. Croix Rod Company, which is hosting this trip. We’ve spent the night on a houseboat anchored some 30 miles up-lake from the main marina at Page, which is near the dam at the lake’s southern end.
I am drinking coffee, squinting at the rising sun, and feeling just the touch of an ache in my arthritic knees. “So, Jason,” I say, as he appears, ready to go in full fishing garb. “You need to know something. I am The Old Guy, and you are The Young Guy. Do you understand about this?”
Brunner doesn’t miss a beat. “Yeah, I do,” he says. “It’s like the Old Bull and the Young Bull.” I’m immediately laughing and ask him to explain.
“Well,” he says, “the Young Bull and the Old Bull are standing on a hillside overlooking a pasture full of cows. The Young Bull is prancing around, all excited, and says to the Old Bull, ‘Let’s run down there and [bleep] some of those cows!’
“The Old Bull just shakes his head. ‘Nah,’ he says. ‘Let’s walk down there and [bleep] all of them.’”
I choked on my coffee, fortunately near the side of the boat. Then I got a second cup with which to toast his wisdom, unusual for a young angler. We killed some more time warming ourselves like rock-bound cormorants in the growing sunlight. Finally I felt like fishing, so we hopped on a bass boat and ran off to catch small stripers with fast-sinking fly lines and chartreuse Clouser minnows.