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!


Ian


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