After guiding full time for 15 years, some clients become very good friends. Two weeks ago I lost one of those friends. Arvid Knutsen always made me laugh. Sometimes I would fall to the deck laughing so hard. His was a self-deprecating humor. Booking his first trip with me many years ago, he told me he had never caught a bass with a guide. He was willing to learn and researched me as the guy for the job. Our first trip Arvid did catch “a” fish. I did see that he had a long way to go. Once or twice the first year, then eventually every Friday, we hit the water and had fun!
He improved slowly, very slowly, but quickly I learned he was really out to enjoy himself. If he caught fish, so much the better. On days where I would have normally canceled due to poor conditions, Arvid would ask what he could expect to catch; I replied "One, if you are lucky!" He accepted the challenge and would catch one. And he would spend the day and months ahead quoting me, including my accurate prediction.
Arvid was so excited about getting on the water; he would arrive at the dock in a total panic. Running late was routine. Tangled line and tackle started every trip. I would get him to a fishing spot and prepare his gear for the day. Often I would go to his house to organize his tackle as he kept bringing more and more gear onto the boat. Rain or shine, he even packed rain gear!
I admired his stick to it attitude! No matter the weather, no matter how the fish were biting, he kept casting! We were together for the best fishing day I ever had, big ones and lots of them. I asked him to take a photo of me with my biggest that day. He obliged, however he cut the head and tail off the fish, including my head as well! After that, we both laughed every time we took photos. We were together on tough days too. Arvid found the positive light, knowing that guides work their butts off on tough days, remarking on what he learned that day and recalling successful past fishing trips.
He always called me "Admiral". I'll miss that. He was the only one who could out-talk me on the boat for 8, 9, or 10 hours! Phone conversations crammed those hours into 30 minutes. Never a conversation went by without an update on his 3 wonderful kids. After meeting the 2 boys, Arvid emailed a photo of his beautiful daughter. She was so amazingly beautiful that I questioned his paternity, requesting a DNA test, to his belly laughter! This became a long running joke for us, as I could find a way to work this query into just about any conversation to catch him off guard. Every trip with Arvid was memorable! The trips weren't all about him either; he was fascinated by my career travels, claiming to have learned more about me on every trip.
We chatted about everything, finding we had entirely different views on everything. He liked Sammy Davis Jr.'s version of Mr. Bojangles. I preferred Jerry Jeff Walker. We did agree on politics.
This winter he relied on me to drive him to Doctor appointments. I was relatively free and it was fun hanging out with him. We had scheduled another chauffeuring appointment for February 14. When I told him that was Valentine's Day, he told me he would get me a box of chocolates and some flowers. This season, while my schedule may fill in, my Fridays without him will be empty.
Capt. Steve Chaconas
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