Slim Bracken, lifelong logger and one of my best fishing buds who died recently after falling off his bike. Slim was one of those rare anglers who combined great jokes, local knowledge, and uncommon generosity giving me "first casts" through new water. Last year, at age 79, he drove Suz "on a quiet ride through the hills" over 100 miles an hour which made her scream like a banshee. Another time he took me on a cliff edge to his secret fishing spot high above rapids where one wrong step meant instant death. "You're not afraid of heights, are you?" he laughed.
"You go ahead," I said. "I'll try that shallow spot upriver in case one makes it past you."
Slim did not share my concerns about climate change, but he helped me balance those concerns.
I thought of him yesterday at another secret spot. "How's your wife?" asked one angler.
"She drowned netting a big salmon for me on the Columbia," said the second. "But I got the fish!" That was pure Slim, one of the finest spoon anglers Oregon produced, or ever will.