It was the biggest fly rod I have ever seen. A huge two-handed spey, eleven feet long, if it was an inch. Do they make 20wts? It made my 4wt look like a toothpick. Heck, it made my trusty ¾” wading staff look like a toothpick!!! The rod could have kicked a tuna’s ass and there it was in the hands of a large, white haired, bearded gentleman, standing in the middle of Wilson Creek; a creek so small that in most places, if he stood mid-stream, he could easily touch both shores with the plank. All I could think to say was “That’s quite a stick you've got there”.
I'd trade all my fishing tomorrows
for one single fishing yesterday.*
If the Ghost of Christmas Past was to appear and grant me a single step back in time and place, I might very well return to the day pictured above, sometime in the summer of 1982, on a quiet North Carolina farm pond, to re-live a delightful afternoon chasing bluegill with my father and my two sons, Greg and Andy. This particular image is dear to me as the two patient anglers, my dad, Andy, and my youngest son, also Andy, are no longer with us. Each was taken away long before their time and I miss them dearly. You often don't know how precious a day can be until it's gone so, if I could return to this one, I'd savor every second.
This picture returns to my consciousness regularly, but particularly this week as Sunday, the 13th, is the Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting, an evening in which we place a candle in the window in remembrance of the children that have been lost to us.
It’s time for the eagerly awaited and highly influential first annual Mike’s Gone Fishin’ New Gear of the Year Award. Yeah, it probably seems a bit premature for year-end acknowledgements, but this year's nominations have been closed early because it has been strongly suggested that I purchase nothing else until after Christmas. It’s very likely that I have bollixed up enough gift ideas already.
This year the competition for New Gear of the Year has been tough as I have come a long way in filling out my fly fishing arsenal. New rods, reels, and accouterments galore have found their way into the closet (you have, no doubt, read about a few of them here) and all have made fishing this year a blast. So, drum roll please.