EELAND STRIBLING

Crack that egg and the comedian comes out. Eeland rolls into breakfast with his tech tee hoody on to hide the earbuds. But he’s not fooling us, we can see them when he turns his head. Only he is fooling us, because they’re not even turned on.

There’s nothing eerie or uncomfortable about the silence that prevails. You might see him as deep in thought, when in reality he’s self-chastising the prior night’s discussion with Jim Beam.

Don’t let his calmness and lack of emotion fool you, he’ll really dial it down when he hits the water. With beautiful airmail casts, he leads the fish, slowly strips the

line and lifts the rod as the spool rolls backwards, paying out line. No whoop. No holler. No “yeeeesssss!” Just a wry smile like he’s been in the end zone before.

Only he hasn’t. Eeland is another one of our sweetwater crew that we’re working to convert to the saltwater and the equatorial friendship that goes with warm climate casts.

Calm, cool and collected on land, the shell cracks and he opens up the second he gets in the boat, which is good, because for a while there we weren’t sure he could actually speak. But ask him about teaching kids to fly cast, what it’s like to bomb on stage or if he thinks that rachety half-ass double haul into the wind is going more than 20 feet and you’ll get at least a three-word response.

For all his emotional control, there’s a double shot of passion. You have to pry him off the casting platform, and even then, he’s going to stand behind you the entire time with a rod in one hand and a ‘cuda-targeting needlefish fly on the other. Give him a questioned look and you’ll get a detailed response. “Back-up.”

When the boat arrives back at the dock and everyone’s gathered to tell their lies, Eeland turns into a wanderer, pacing the shore, drawing on his wildlife biologist background to figure it all out on his own. By dinner, Mr. Beam has him smiling, laughing, cracking jokes and flinging smack.

We’ve figured it out. After dark is when the night owl chirps.

August 10, 2021 — Captains & Cowboys