Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bad Boyfriend


Forgive me, Dani. I knew he was trouble.

I should have known better, that he'd steal you away, spend your money, leave you breathless. But I introduced you to him anyway. What was I thinking? How did I not see that you’d fall for him? Hard.

Sure, you asked about him first, but that's no excuse for my actions. What I missed was that he’d already caught your eye out there on your forays into the southeastern woodlands, restoring those pretty little brookie streams, learning to love the surroundings. But, when you asked, I should have talked you out of it. I should never have helped with the whippy little 'glass starter setup. You said it was just for an alternate sampling method, but I should have known better. It was about spending time with him.

It happened so fast. Seems like just yesterday you called me from Virginia, excited about catching your first small stream rainbow. Next thing I know, you're with him, sending grip-and-grins from Colorado’s South Platte; Eleven Mile Canyon, Dream Stream. You’re even posting about the big one that jumped and spit the hook, telling the one that got away stories like a veteran. He put you up to that, I'm certain. He’s sweeping you off your feet like a swift, tumbling current on worn vibram soles.

So before this infatuation goes any farther, there are a few things you need to know about him.

He’s moody. He’ll stand you up two, three times in a row. Skunk you bad. And just when you’re ready to toss him out he gives you a day that makes your head spin. He keeps stringin’ you along so you never know where you stand.

He’ll dress you up in ways you could never have imagined. Kinky. Belts and rubber and big boots kinky. To show you off to his friends.

He’ll get under your skin and you’ll find yourself thinking of him constantly. Every waterway you pass, no matter how big or how small, will bring him to mind. You’ll drift away at work, at play, in your dreams. It’s scary sometimes.

And just so you know, he treats his men friends just as badly. I'd rather not talk about it.

I implore you. Dump the bum. He’s no good. He’ll consume you. He’ll take you to far away places and then rain on you. He'll make you buy him stuff. Lots of stuff. That 5wt's not enough. He’s a monster.

If it’s not already too late, turn and run. Please, please, please listen!

Fly fishing is a bad boyfriend.

Bad.

But, then again, sometimes bad can be very, very good...



Notes: My thanks go out to my good friend and neighbor Dani for allowing me this bit of fun. Despite my warnings, I am thrilled to have her as a fellow fly fisher and wish her the best of luck in all of her angling endeavors. I sincerely hope that they bring her as much joy as they have brought me.

And be sure to visit Dani’s blog, Chasing Spring: Each Day a New Beginning. It’s a warm and honest look at the challenges of raising a family with a special needs child. The lessons are universal, lovingly told and beautifully depicted.

A nod and a thank you, as well, to Mike Taylor of the Peak Guide Shop, located in Colorado Springs and Woodland Park, for the image of Dani and her first western rainbow. Well captured, sir. The smile is priceless.


Finally, a reminder to all you women anglers out there that your first year of TU membership is currently free. Take advantage of this great offer to get started with this fine organization.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fish Dinner


I am forever amazed and amused at the dedication, creativity, and outright wit of my vegetarian friends. Night One on Bald Head Island - four couples, the Usual Suspects, neighbors and friends, sharing a house on a southeastern island adventure - was fish night. And while most of us drooled over our poached salmon with peppers, carrots, and water chestnuts, over rice, smothered in Paul and Alecia's secret marinade, Robin and Sam kept the spirit with similarly appointed tofu swordfish, grouper, and shark steaks.

Bon app├ętit.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bonding


It had been baptized in Floridian salt just a few miles from its birthplace, but there’s something special about putting the new boat into home waters for the first time; adding a bit of spice to the old stompin' grounds and seeing the flats that you've come to know from a fresh new perspective, perched high on the polling platform of a shiny new skiff.

You couldn't have knocked the grin from Troy's face with a two-by-four.

So we skipped along the NC IC, trolled the creeks, poled the skinny water, and got out and pushed when in less than six inches. We put the first oyster bed scrapes on the bottom, nudged a dock or two, and talked about where to stage the stickpin, place a fly patch, fashion an icebox.

And, yes, we tossed a few flies and chased a few reds, but that wasn't particularly important. This weekend was all about the boat. It was all about the bonding.






Tuesday, August 6, 2013

22 Ton


An odd provision in the purchase of our home was the conveyance of a one-fourth ownership in a hydraulic wood splitter. I've staunchly resisted its use these past two years.

You see, I love splitting wood by hand. It's great exercise, extremely effective stress therapy, and often an entertaining puzzle in three dimensions. Whiling away a day swinging an axe suits me just fine.

But over the past couple of seasons I have accumulated a stack of "problem" rounds - sections of wood with knots, twists, forks, and general stubbornness that have resisted my maul - much of it hickory which is particularly cantankerous to pry apart as its grains tend to go every which way. Andrew Jackson must have been one mean cuss.

So I reluctantly chased down the splitter, dragged it home, and put it to work, feeling a bit guilty giving in to the convenience. The pile of nasties was split in no time. It was a ton too easy.

Actually, twenty-two of them.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Downsized


Photo Credit: Bill Gregory

I've been downsized.

After weeks of slingin' aggressive saltwater tapers with broomstick-fast eights, twitching my whippy little 4wt once again is, shall we say, interesting. But, like riding a bike, it comes back quickly, though the off hand feels left out with no hauling to do. Sorry, friend, your job is no longer required.

Surprisingly, the hardest thing is remembering to clear the backcast. There's no sycamores, no rhodos, on the flats. No tight quarters. I am reminded, occasionally, and get personal with the flora.

My fishing world shrinks from the horizon to a mere thirty feet.

Downsized, in a good way.