This past Friday, fly fishing guides Tom Bowers and Jeff Butler of 45 Degrees North Fly Fishing Company donated a day of guided fishing and nature photography on the St. Croix River to two In a New Light participants. While the boys caught beautiful smallmouth bass and captured amazing photos, the day turned out to be about something much more profound than fish and photos. It was about the way the boys hung on to every word the guides spoke, and how their faces cemented into perpetual grins. It was about the sense of solemn reverence Tom and Jeff expressed toward the river, and the passionate way they extolled its beauty and our need to protect it. It was about the meditative, rhythmic hum of line cutting through air as the boys became conductors of their own fly rod sonatas. At the hands of a river and two of its sages, a couple young lives were forever changed. What an incredible gift. Thank you Tom, Jeff, and Kathy.
Guide Jeff Butler explains the finer points of bass poppers.
Nick and Jeff celebrate Nick's first fish on a flyrod. Nick's knees were shaking for literally an hour after the battle. "I have to figure out how to buy a fly rod as soon as possible. I can see doing this for the rest of my life," Nick explained.
Guide and 45 Degrees North owner Tom Bowers sends the boys away with parting words of wisdom. Notice the grins.