Tuesday, December 16

Chasing Unicorns

The garbage cans were out by the mail box, emptied, when I pulled back in the driveway this afternoon.  That must mean today is Tuesday. I don't seem to recall dragging them to the road yesterday. This time of year lags...and it's only December.

Today may have been the last "warm" day of the winter, so I had to skip out on work this morning and hit the river for a few hours.  I changed my plan last minute, afraid the road to the spot I really wanted to go would be washed out with the rain we've gotten recently combined with the snow on the ground.  The car thermometer read 37 when I got to the river...t-shirt weather.  The water wasn't as high as I had expected, and the rain was spotty for the moment. Perfect morning  to spend a few hours fishing.

Winter fishing for me is simply a form of life support.  I plan on catching exactly zero fish and almost always succeed in that endeavor.  I still hold out hope, I always do, but more reminiscent of the type of hope that I may see Sasquatch or glimpse a unicorn than an honest hope...it's a hope lacking in anticipation I think.

 Today...today though...was no different.  HOWEVER...I moved three fish.  THREE FISH in only a few hours. They were between 16 and 20 inches or so, and very well could have been steelhead.  Since this is my story, we'll call them browns...because that's what they were, browns.

I didn't really move 3 fish. The second fish I managed to move twice.  The second time he came out to play I was so sure of the impending hook up that I had worked out how to land him, where to take the picture, and what I would tell my grand kids about my rare winter fish, all in the split second it took him to change his mind and retreat back to his hold, taking my heart with him.  SHIT!

I was drenched and 37 degrees in the pouring rain feels more like 17.  I deserved that fish, I earned that fish!  Then it happened.  A hook up.  FISH ON.  I'm not really a "woo hoo'er" but I woo hoo'd. Out loud.  I played the fish for about 5 seconds, 5 drama filled seconds that bordered on eternity until I came to a horrible realization.  I was fighting a stick.  No fish.  How did I not know it was a snag?  My brain is a powerful weapon capable of cruel tricks, but on a positive note, it's also capable of some pretty decent delusions.  A half day fishing combined with a half day working kind of feels more like a whole day fishing.  Work doesn't seem quite so real, quite so serious, and the lingering image of a few fish from this morning are enough to take up most of my thoughts for the afternoon.

Chase contentment, chase trout, and fish on!


Wednesday, December 3

The master list: this year's Christmas wants and new year's resolutions

I've decided to do a list of what I'd like for Christmas, mixed in with a few new year's resolutions.

First a few disclaimers:  it goes with out saying that of course I'd like my family to be happy/healthy, world peace, and all of those other feel good things that are obvious.  So here it is, the real list, the master list:

I'd like to never talk politics again.  Or be forced to listen to other people talk politics.

In fact, let's eliminate small talk all together.  I don't care what you heard about the weather, or what you think about the school system, you don't care what my kids have been up to.  Agreed?  Maybe I'm just an introverted asshole and should work on my people skills.

I'd prefer to never step foot in a wal-mart again.

Some of those Steelhead Gloves from Kast.  I've never found a happy medium when it comes to gloves for winter fishing...maybe the problem is that I haven't bought an $80 pair yet, but alas, that will probably never happen.

A sign for everyone that prefers to do 100% of the talking during a conversation.  It would just make it a hell of a lot easier...that way I could just walk away.  They wouldn't even notice.

A drift boat.  What brand you ask...I don't give a shit.  Does it float?

I'll need a trailer to go along with the boat...and a trailer hitch for a Jeep compass.

One day, I'd like to have a best friend with a plow truck.  All of the benefits, none of the hassle.  I'd just take him fishing in my drift boat as repayment.

A $5.00 spool of amnesia, 25lb test, so I can bang junk in the Cheboygan river...and cry myself to sleep at night.

Also, someone to tie my egg flies for me.  I'm not sure what it is but I've never been fond of tying eggs.

I'd like 2 spare spools for my Allen reel.  I should have bought them a long time ago.  Why didn't I?  I'm to lazy to change out the sinking line for the floating...half the time I just convince myself I was going to throw streamers anyhow.

It'd be cool if Allen finally sent me my replacement rod for the one I broke...in September...but the loaner is working out ok.  I guess the replacement hasn't been released yet, I don't know.  Also, I broke the first loaner they sent me so they had to send another one, so all in all I'd say they're being pretty cool.

A replacement top half for my Redington Classic Trout that was inadvertently launched across the river into the great abyss... but I think I'm going to buy a Mystic rod to replace that one anyhow.

I know this is counter intuitive to me writing a blog, but I'm getting pretty god damned sick of reading the same fly fishing articles over and over. Social media doesn't help. Let's get some new shit this year!  Although, I found one of my grandpa's old fly fishing magazines...this thing was from the late 80's...guess what it talked about?  I don't hold out much hope.

I'd like to be nicotine free in 2015...except for hex season.  That doesn't count.  Oh, and my U.P. trip, that doesn't count either.

I'd like to spend a few minutes in a room where everyone wasn't vying to be the smartest person there.  We could just admit most of use are dumb.

I'd like to get my wife onto some really nice trout...maybe that's not it...maybe I'd like to be able to have her experience some of the emotional subtleties of fly fishing.  Yeah.  To watch the sunset as you cast to the last rising trout during a small hatch of drakes.   Bingo.

I'd be ok with another horrendous winter.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big fan, but last winter made for some ridiculous fishing this spring and summer!

I'd like a winter supply of Oberon.  Not for everyone, just for me.  I don't want to ruin the appeal, but a few months of the stuff isn't long enough.

I'd like to stop rushing.  I'm not sure why I rush, I don't really have that important of a life, but I'm always in a hurry.  I'd like to slow down, take a breath.

I'm going to throw in a custom bamboo rod for good measure.  I'd be too scared to fish it though.

I'd like to spend a week without the kids.  Perhaps even just a weekend.  I love those kids, but I'd really like to get away...from them...or stay in...just without them here.  It'd give me a chance to miss them!  That might make me a bad person, I don't know.

And I'd like to get out and FISH!  I spend half of the winter planning on going out, the other half telling myself it's way too cold.

There should be no snow on the ground by this weekend so the good spots should be accessible!  Maybe I'll see you out there...hopefully not though.

Have an amazing Christmas, keep your sanity, tie up some eggs for me, and fish on!