Time: 06:00
River: Skykomish
Rod: Okuma SST 6' 6"
Reel: Shimano Sahara 2500

Oft I wonder how many scintillating, sun-scorched skylines we're afforded, reminded by divinity in nature how man but hobbles by on borrowed time, prized ownership of nature herself. The choir of churning pistons neath' steel hood of my noble steed illuminated the convalescent dawn. Aberrations concluding their evening valley tenure torpidly retraced their familiar alabaster vapor trails, returning them to familiar daytime forest haunts. Through the ghoulish fog caressing the fringes of tiny-town Startup traveled I, thick as silence on a freshly dusted winter’s eve. Arriving three minutes ahead of schedule lightened my heart; arriving eight wholesomely earned minutes ahead of time afforded my morning repose amidst the sea of glowing eyes casting glares down upon my silhouette, ethereal tranquility eviscerating fearful feelings, solitary in the dark.

Some mornings bequeath feelings of hope and resilience, however this daybreak procured sentiment of solace and mourning. I came naught for silver-sides and olive-backs, but to uplift my friend and kindred spirit, willfully returning to the earthen-walled caverns of empathic service. Friendship weathering enumerable hours earned companionship. Bonds of brotherhood were wrought with iron-tempest and testing squall. Though he strolled through the emotional deluge—as a fresh widower—alone, we found ourselves scratching the surface of our souls, each successive cast cleansing layers asunder, constitutions collective; paths conflagrant. This I dedicate to you, my friend—my heart goes with you through this vicissitude of life.

I find it trying to take angling for sport these days; it has evolved to the liking of an ancillary play-thing, harnessing an ideal of child-like essence, touting freedom from life’s cornucopia of responsibilities—it is the peg that hangs my trench coat of faith in humanity. Frequently unable to commit mentally to the task, I still find it useful for ameliorating character flaws and fortifying integrity. As the iron dumbbell to the body builder, so the cast to the angler, dross removed from the spirit with each repetition. That we, my fellow angling brethren, may increase, let the steelhead garner new title as the “fish of ten thousand casts.” To tougher fish; to greater men.

Much to the dismay of his dual rods-and-reels was the unconventional armament of my own. Towering seven-feet-save-six-inches, factory embellished a jovial pearlescent pink was my Okuma SST rifle. And while my counterpart snickered incessantly, my opponent-to-come would furnish no mirth, solemnly cutting his teeth on fewer words to say.

With surgeon-like precision, we voraciously blasted each seam of the low-and-clear Skykomish puddle. By the first hour's last breath, we parted ways organically, allowing the guiding morning ethos to plot our remaining casts. Out-geared and under-gunned by my contemporary, I chose the overgrown path of gut-feeling, averting gaze from the riffle above promising a pair of fins. Refocusing on frog-water below, I prepared my mind to paint flawlessly upon the liquid canvas. Resounding with deft accuracy, two hand cannon-like casts later, my DNE float dove beneath the surface. Garnering all might and tenacity of ten thousand men, I violently flogged the air behind my head, activating the non-existent backbone of the ultralight attempt-of-a-rod, clenched tightly between sore fingers. Fish on!

To the surface he gallivanted, spreading wide his angelic water-wings, importunely pushing his weight laterally while viscerally shaking the soul of my tremulous curve of graphite. Eyes glaring and ectoplasm pouring from his snorting nostrils, he skillfully advanced to my rod tip, six feet and inches commensurate in distance—I could taste the repugnance of his will, respectfully coupling the acrid aroma that tingled my olfactory sense. Succumbing to ennui along the slow and unchanging inside seam, he stormed off, evincive of his willpower, sapping the strength of my recently borrowed six-pound-test Maxima leader. After primitively alligator-rolling in its entirety and deftly unwinding himself—as the seamstress her thread—he viciously propelled himself upward towards the sky, akin the reconciliatory flight pattern of the spring-swallow, subsequent to dive-bombing his evening meal. Following a flurry of reel cranks and a nine-minute engagement of hand-to-hand combat within arm’s length, he finally revealed his Leviathan-like size. Three failed attempts to water-land my opponent—girth nearly insurmountable by mere mortal hand—procured a successful fourth, splintered shield and battered sword, cautiously wielded by weathered hands. Of worthy opponents, I’ve faced many; of brilliance and decorum embodied in 36" x 17" of refined determination, musculature and will, I’ve seldom received the invitation. I'm haunted by intellect insurmountable and equanimity of steelhead, juxtaposed with their subordinate: the pursuing angler.

While many days populate the interim where no worthy opponent is to be found, it takes but one properly trained set of fins to set the soul afire. This past year trading reel for real estate has been rewarding. Meticulous transference of cultivated skill from the world of angling, to one stacked with investors and property acquisitions, has deemed a mightily successful endeavor. The lessons earned by the pedagogue—nature—being reverently returned to domesticated man, one word and one property at a time.

If you're interested in procuring residence or investment property along the Skykomish River—or the greater eastside— I warmly requite my real estate contract and negotiating skills to you. If the recent landing of a dream investment property across from Reiter Ponds Hatchery for a friend and client of Reel Priorities wasn't enough to set conflagration in mine own, it most certainly will yours when you no longer need pay hours of commute for entrance to one of Washington's finest winter steelhead fisheries. Let not the morning woes sequester the joy from the consummate fishery you deserve.

May your rods retain crescent arcs; may your investments abound fruitfully, availing opportunities to reinvest in that which truly matters. Thank you for reading—Priorities Reelty, out.