Fishing | TROUT Magazine | Voices from the river

An ode to Doug Rohrer

TU's Rob Shane shows off a nice Lake Ontario tributary steelhead caught with Doug Rohrer's help.

By Rob Shane

Doug Rohrer came into my life about a year and a half ago, on a Friday afternoon in June, on the side of a dirt road in the Poconos.

I was on my way to Hancock, N.Y., for another weekend of fishing the Delaware River when I slammed on my brakes, threw the car in reverse, and picked him up.

That year had started off rough. It had been months since I’d caught a fish on the Delaware River, or anywhere else for that matter.

Countless evening hatches, pre-work excursions, and full-day marathons of fishing had produced nothing but despair. In fact, every time I did hook up with a fish, some voodoo magic would occur, and the fish inevitably would escape before it reached the net.

In one instance, I even broke the tip of my rod in an overhanging tree while trying to set the hook.

I was cursed.

I should clarify some things. Doug and I have never met. I don’t know what he looks like, how his voice sounds, or whether he enjoys any of the same hobbies, music, or food that I do. We do, however, share a connection that I’ll never be able to thank him enough for.

That same June weekend I when I planned to fish the Delaware, Doug had planned his “1st Annual Bachelors Party” somewhere near my home.

It was such an exciting event that custom hats were made for participants. By the grace of some higher power, one of those hats ended up on the side of the road moments before I drove past.

In all my years of fly fishing, I’ve learned one constant rule: LUCKY HATS FIND YOU.

I examined the hat for any signs of wear and tear and, finding none, I promptly placed it on my head. It fit like a glove and is quite stylish.

Wouldn’t you know, that same evening, I finally put a fish in the net. Then another. Then another. And many more.

Throughout that long weekend we put more Delaware River brown trout in the net than we could count, most well over the 18-inch mark and more than a few over 20 inches.

Since this day, it’s rare that I leave for a fishing trip without Doug Rohrer.

He’s enjoyed many trips to the Delaware River, a long week in Arkansas (thanks to Bill and Sara Thorne, Brian Kick, and Michael Wingo for graciously hosting us every year), and the Smith River in Montana this past summer.

I’m heading to Slovenia in May of next year on my honeymoon to fish and you better believe I won’t be making that journey without Doug.