For as long as I have been a consumer of fly fishing media, all of the essays, videos and photos have been from the perspective of those lucky individuals that were actually there.

Well screw that. Welcome to a magazine feature told by the poor, sad sap that didn’t get to go.

Steve was invited to El Pescador Lodge in Belize for their 40th anniversary party and Jim Klug’s book release. Notice how I said Steve was invited, not “we” were invited. Nope, nobody invites writers places, just glamour boy photographers. So for all you aspiring fly-fishing media types, put down the pen and pick up the camera. We are a society of lookers now, not readers, but I digress. When you don’t go on a trip that your buddy gets to go on, it’s kind of like mourning a loss. There are seven stages of grief I’m told:

Shock: “You get to go where? You son of a bitch”

Denial: “There is no f’n way you’re going to Belize, you son of a bitch”

Anger: “I will kick you in the dick if you catch a permit, you son of a bitch”

Bargaining: “Maybe I could hide in your luggage, or be the towel boy at the cabana, you son of a bitch”

Guilt: “Maybe if I was nicer, or bathed more, you son of a bitch”

Depression: “I just want to be left alone, you son of a bitch”

Acceptance: I have no familiarity with this concept.

So, like most trips (not that I would know) to Belize, Steve’s was awesome. Hanging out with a lot of media folks, great food, cold Beliken, and of course, the fishing. I was not forced to kick him in the crotch as he did not catch a permit, but the bonefish were plentiful, which is more than I can say for my couch, where there were no bonefish. But quite honestly, the worst thing about staying at home while your buddy goes fishing…in Belize…are the post-game replays, and replays, and replays. It’s human nature to carry your exaltation home with you from far-flung fishing destinations. To a certain degree it can’t be helped. On the other hand, none of us want to hear about it, you son of a bitch. I don’t care who you met, what you caught, or how awesome the whole thing was. I gathered that from the texts you sent me during the trip, asshole. It’s a little thing called sportsmanship. You don’t talk shit to the team you just beat back into the mercy rule. Win with class, and keep your mouth shut.

I blame a lot of people for me not going on this trip, far too many to be listed here. I harbor what some might consider equal opportunity anger at this point. I have spread it far and wide and yet I still sit here dreaming of warm locales with silvery fish with hate in my heart. I hope this has at least given a voice to those among us that up until now have had no voice. And I think I speak for all of us to all of you travelers when I say, “Suck it.”

I (Steve) need to thank Ali Gentry (and her entire family), Jim Klug (Yellowdog Adventures), Lori-Ann Murphy, and every one at El Pescador for an amazing week away from ice and snow (and Dave). For the record, there were several writers (great writers) there with me that were much nicer (and did bathe). Also, my guides did give me several shots at huge schools of permit… but lucky for Dave, I did not make one eat.

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