Fishing Stories

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4 Responses to Fishing Stories

  1. karen says:

    We found this quote in The River Why, a book Holly has read twice and enjoyed … she said she never would have found it, if it hadn’t been for Rufus.

    “I want to walk around in the woods, fish and drink.
    I’m going to be a child about it and I can’t help it, I was born this way and it makes me very happy to fish and drink…
    Water will never leave earth and whiskey is good for the brain.
    What else am I supposed to do in these last days but fish and drink?”
    — Jim Harrison

  2. hakim says:

    rufus loved the idea of the reel recovery, which we talked about. that’s about the extent of my relation to fishing.

    but jim harrison is one of my favorites, from the days when he had a food column in esquire magazine and wrote about the state of life with a haphazardly-remembered recipe thrown in to keep the thema… i met him on the press junket for ‘wolf’ and was not disappointed.

  3. karen says:

    Ed Dudkowski asked me to share this story … complete with photos!

    I first met Rufus some 40 years ago when he arrived in Bay Area Television. He was hangin’ out with characters the likes of Bob Anderson, Jack Hanson, Steve Davis, Don Zavin, Jeannie Hoffman and others. I was “the Kid,” right out of SF State TV school and looked wide eyed up to these seasoned “pros.” I would learn better later.

    Rufus and I lost touch for several decades. We were drawn together again a couple of years ago when, thankfully, Jack Hanson found out I was scheduled for a very challenging double surgery for esophageal cancer and reconnected us.

    Having had nearly the same surgery 8 years earlier, Rufus became my personal inspiration and coach for my successful healing. He was there hours after my surgery cheering me on.

    It was then we both discovered a mutual passion for fly fishing that would bond us “fishing buddies” forever. I actually did only one fishing trip with Rufus but it was the best. He introduced me to the pristine beauty of Tuolumne Meadows and some magnificent native rainbow trout rising on one enchanted evening in Yosemite.

    Stream in Tuolume Meadows

    The next evening, coming off the stream, and as I approached him in the darkness, he motioned to his mouth and mumbled: “Ed, can you get ‘thith’ fly out of the ‘thip’ of my tongue?”

    Rufus with Fly on Tongue

    Sure enough, he had fulfilled the “revenge dreams” of every fish he had ever hooked … he had a small wet-fly embedded too deep for me to even think of it getting out. Plus his tongue never stayed still enough for me to get near it to remove it.

    We took a 20 mile drive to the nearest outpost emergency medical facility. As Rufus would later describe him, this “teenage” doctor approached his mouth with a sharp scalpel. It was at that moment I suggested Xylocaine as a possible pain killer. Rufus then mumbled: “Now Doctor, what is the reason we are not using Xylocaine?” At which point the teenage doctor agreed it was a good idea and proceeded to block the pain of the incision BEFORE he took out the fishing fly.

    Rufus was then told not to eat anything for 24 hours but was given the OK to drink so we retired to our room at the Wawona Lodge with a bottle of gin to wash away any lingering discomforts.

    I still have photos of that trip on my coffee table. But, more importantly, I’ll always have memories in my heart of a wonderful pal, a true inspiration to me when I really needed it and the best fly fishing buddy anyone could have … it doesn’t get any better than that.

    Rufus … Be Well! Fish On!

    Love ya’,

    Ed Dudkowski

    Rufus with Nurse - All is Well
    Rufus post-fly-removal surgery … all is well.

  4. Holly says:

    Several years ago, while unpacking his fly rod after we returned from a trip to the Trinity Alps, Rufus managed to lodge one of his flies in a finger & I had the pleasure of extracting it. I couldn’t believe he actually trusted my inexperienced hands for such a task!! I’m not actually sure how I managed removing it without causing too much pain, but we laughed and had so much fun in the process that I don’t think he noticed it much.

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