Ahhh. Ya just gotta love these Dog Days of December.
I mean, what’s not to love? The sun is out, there’s a hint of summer warmth on the breeze, the ground is dry, the skies are blue, the ocean smells … oceanic — what the heck is going on!?
Even my Farmer’s Almanac is confused. It says this winter is supposed to be a lot like last winter, which — and I take full blame for this — involved nonstop rain from Oct. 16, the day I finished the unbuilding of my new house, and May. Maybe June.
I haven’t seen a drop this year.
So therefore, I have decided it must be time to take up … fishing! Why not?
I am a good journalist, in that I have a little bit of experience and know-how in a lot of different realms. So, I have a little bit of deep-sea fishing experience from my youth, drowning-worm fishing experience from my post-college days and fly fishing time in Colorado when I thought that was how one “looked Colorado-y.”
Oh. And I have a little jetty experience from here, when a couple friends and I spent a day casting, chatting about life, casting, complaining about life, casting, getting sunburned and wondering where in the %^(#& the fish were. Collectively, we caught a shrimp, two anchovies, a bunch of seaweed and the requisite (hiking) boot. Oh. And broke two rods. Now, that was a good day fishing.
Since I don’t have a deep-sea fishing boat, nor a worm-baited rod, I pulled out the old fly rod the other day. Ahh, we go way back. We’ve made some great memories together, me and my fly-fishing rod. And she’s a beauty, to boot.
It’s the kind of fly rod that’s so beautiful you don’t want to take it fishing and get it all gummed up, which is why it has sat in my garage since 1988.
In reality, I have taken it fishing — three times.
The first time was on the Gold Medal Waters of the Blue River in Summit County, Colorado. Oh, the chill in the autumn air. The smooth ziiinnnnng arc of the fishing line. The gentle *tick* sound it makes as it strikes a rock on the other bank. The yowl of the feral animal in whose fur the fly is entangled. The laughter of other fisherfolk.
I live for moments like that. Except the fisherfolk laughter. I could do without that.
That day, I caught my sweater in my wind-up to get my line in the river. Three times.
The first time, I took my sweater off and draped it over a nearby bush. Ziiiing! I promptly caught it again. Now I’m getting a little ticked, particularly at the fishermen across the river who are laughing at me. I tucked the sweater deep under the bush, played out my line, cast it and — yes! — caught my sweater again. You can’t make this up. I was just about to throw my sweater into an eddy where I knew fat lazy fish were circling when the sun went down.
Another memorable time I had quite the opposite result. I was in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado, where there are so many streams that, viewed from above, it looks like a map of Los Angeles, only with more streets. According to the state fish people, there are 8,700 fish per mile in those rivers. I refused to believe that — until I couldn’t stop catching fish. I think I caught 4,126 before I got a little creeped out.
I swear, you could toss a line into the river without a fly, lure, bait, hook — anything — and the fish would grab it, tie it around their waist and tug twice to let you know they were ready for haul-out. It was that easy.
The third time, we were camping in the Gore Range and the sun went down before we could reel our lines in. Granted, the line of a fly rod is supposed to be in constant motion, but dinner was calling, and I left it on the bank of Wheeler Lake, its little fly resting lightly on the cold water.
And the next morning, I found a 24-inch trout on the end. See why I like this sport?
Well, I was cleaning out my garage this weekend and stumbled across my old fly rod, gathering dust in the corner.
I dusted it off. Ahh, the memories. The sweater I caught, the fly-less lines, that big ol’ mountain trout.
I was thinking it was time to take her for a spin again.
But then I looked at the sky. Gray. Foreboding. Looks like rain.
Maybe next year. I think winter’s finally arrived.