I set the alarm for 3:30. That would give me half an hour to get on my waders, warm up some coffee, gather up all my gear, and maybe make a piece of toast. If I left the house by 4 a.m. I'd have 45 min. to get to the Sandy River on time. This was no ordinary fishing trip. There would be lots of fishing but no catching. Lots of casts into the rushing stream, lots of anticipation, but no real fishing. I was an actor in a commercial. That's right, cast as a caster!
Long story short, I'd signed up to be in extra for the IFC series Portlandia and in filling out the questionnaire mentioned that one of my interests is fly fishing. Five years later a casting company making a commercial for Ramada Inns gives me a call and I get the part: one of three fly fishers to be filmed casting their hopes to the Sandy River, one of Oregon's classic steelhead streams.
I don't know what the better story is, the actual making of the commercial, or all the prep work that goes into the shoot. Suffice it to say, I received about half a dozen emails and another half a dozen phone calls from half a dozen people all connected with the project. Organization was definitely their strong suit. They checked and double checked my clothing and gear down to the logo-less hat and the non-shine make-up on my face.
There were three of us. I was the old guy in the middle surrounded by a thirty something professional fly fisher who could double haul with the best of them. To my right was the shortest of this trio, the only one with an agent, but he could cast a fly well and had experience with being "onset"
So we casted our lines in the big Sandy over and over for about two hours. From 5 feet farther out to a little to the right. Three or four times beautiful flocks of wild geese flew in formation overhead. Once a Great Blue heron strolled through the scene. They got it all on tape. But we'll see what actually makes the final product.
After standing in the river so long and not being able to move, my legs began to tighten up and I found it difficult to negotiate the slimy, rocky river bottom. I was hoping they wouldn't ask me to move anywhere because I feared taking a dip. That would ruin the shot if I suddenly became wet or drowned! The Sandy has deceptive currents and more than one well-prepared fisherman has met a watery death in it's clutches.
In the end, it all came out fine. I removed the hook-less fly, re-case my rod, changed into dry clothes and was back in Portland with Katie having breakfast at Helser's Cafe by 8:30.
Maybe they'll call me gain for something. I was proud of my casting since I'm mostly self-taught. I only hope it all doesn't end up on the editing room floor. Either way that's OK too because they paid well for the spot.
Now...I just want to go fishing...by myself.