Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring, Dammit

I know, I know. It’s spring, dammit. As an outdoorsman, I am thrilled beyond words. As an aspiring outdoor writer, I am paralyzed beyond them. Everyone expects “writers” to have something eloquent to say about spring. But what on earth can I say that hasn’t been said a billion times already, and with so much more grace and creativity than I could ever muster? I’m a fraud. Worse, I’m a blogger.

The literary giants of every generation have waxed poetic, prosaic, profoundly, and prodigiously on the annual awakening. The birds are singing, the buds are budding, the blooms are blooming, blah, blah, blah. It happens every year and every year we are deeply moved to write about it. But the masters have ruined it for the rest of us.

How can I top these beautiful, simple images?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Almost Largemouth Time

Now that spring is finally trying to get its foothold on the year, I figured it was time to check out my favorite stretch of the Haw River. Most folks are focused downstream, anxiously awaiting the white bass run, but I am more excited about the prospect of chasing big shoals largemouths again. I'm rapidly becoming a two fish fly fisherman, trout and largemouths, the very best North Carolina freshwater has to offer.

I wasn't expecting much today, and got what I expected - high, fast, heavily stained water. Mix in a stiff, cool breeze along with the threat of rain and it all added up to some pretty lousy conditions, so bad that I only fished for a couple of hours. (Hey, I could get lost for a weekend down there with decent weather.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Early On the Road

“Now, I ain’t never gone fly fishin’, but I did fish for trout in Colorado one time. Not up in the mountains or anything, just down in the farmland. We fished in this little creek that just dug right down through the middle of them wheat fields.”

Four-thirty a.m. came much too early, even though I was excited about getting on the road and heading west to stalk some Smoky Mountain trout. And it was especially difficult as I was late to bed and had slept poorly. Mary had been out of town for a few days and was unable to remind me what was a proper bedtime or to warm my feet in the middle of the night, though she may not have missed the later.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Washing Winter Away

Spring is on the way!!!! I know this because yesterday I removed this year's first tick.

There are, of course, other more pleasant clues that winter is finally slipping away. Tight buds are appearing everywhere, the daffodils and forsythia are blooming, and the redbuds, if you look at them just right, are beginning to assume that odd ruddy cast that foreshadows their spring magenta explosion. (I expect that back in "civilization" those mutant cherries and pears are riotous right now). But best of all, it’s warming up.

And that means it’s time to start checking out the local fishing holes. For the past few months, fishing has meant a trip to the mountains to chase trout, fish that don’t mind that’s it’s freezing outside. While I have thoroughly enjoyed these sojourns, I am excited by the prospect of resuming my ten minute treks to familiar waters.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Geezer and the Brown

I gotta give the Geezer his due.

We have been trying to make this trip for months but have been thwarted time and time again by weather or the contrivances of life. Finally, Monday, the stars aligned and Geezer introduced me to a simply beautiful stretch of water, high along the north fork of the New River in Ashe County.

The stream runs through a stretch of private land, part of the grounds of a marvelous bed and breakfast that the Geez frequents and has cultivated an easy going, friendly relationship with. We were welcomed warmly by the caretaker, and later by the propriatoress, and that fine hospitality insured that someday, no doubt, I will find my way back for a longer visit.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Bed Head Bugger

Absolutely no good can come of this.

Before me, held in the tight grasp of my new finger pinching device, sits my very first tied fly. It brings a tear to my eye, though I can't decide if it's due to the momentousness of the occassion or if it's because it's one sad looking little woolly bugger.