I was looking at my calendar at work on Friday and it dawned on me that we are just a hop skip and a jump away from the spring thaw. In years past I recall salivating at my calendar for warm weather to roll around. Considering I had spent 4 months without a rod in my hands and countless hours at the vise…. no great surprise.
These days, fishing has become a 12 month endeavor for me. The species change each month as does the venue, but if two weeks go by that I have not wet a line that is an oddity.
So Bob, Tim, and I had planned on some fishing yesterday. Unfortunately Tim had some family obligations so Bob and I ventured forward into the cold. And cold it was. When I picked Bob up mid-morning it was a balmy 9 degrees. By the time we hit the water it had skyrocketed to 12 degrees… a veritable heat wave!
Cold weather fishing presents a whole new set of challenges which can make life pretty interesting… frozen fingers, frozen rod guides, frozen leader…. I lost 5 of the first 6 fish I hooked yesterday… still not sure if my fly was frozen solid or if I just couldn’t get a good hook set but I had a few choice words for the winter air. The bite was on though and we giggled like two kids who just found their dad’s collection of Playboy’s.
This brings me to my mixed emotions. As I look forward to the spring thaw, I also dread the crowds of anglers that come with it. Bob and I had the entire river to ourselves yesterday and it was beautiful. We laughed and joked about bad casts and lost fish. We moved from spot to spot without pressure from other anglers. I do not look forward to seeing fisherman elbow to elbow along the banks. When opening day of trout arrives you will see me elsewhere probably fishing a stretch of river or lake for a species that most people don’t chase on the fly. It’s not that I don’t like you… hell, I don’t even know you! But I don’t enjoy fishing while I am surrounded by the collective “you”. I am sure you don’t enjoy fishing being surrounded by the collective “me”!
So my winter wonderland is still in force for another month and I will enjoy every frozen step. But today is a football day…. on the couch, hanging with the dog and the wife…. HERE WE GO STEELERS… HERE WE GO!!!!!!!
So what would possess a rational and sane (most of the time) person to go fly fishing when it is 12 degrees out? Well that is a very good question and one I am not sure I have a complete answer to. I could tell you that I absolutely loved having the entire river to myself. I could tell you that I had a nasty case of cabin fever that needed to be addressed. I could also tell you that I had tied a bunch of new flies that were in need of some water as well. I could tell you that Bob inspired me with the 24 trout he brought to hand last week on an equally cold day. I could probably tell you a lot of things but the thing I probably should tell you is that I just love to fish.
In my humble opinion, one of the things that make someone an outstanding fisherman (which I one day aspire to be) is the ability to fish in all different kinds of conditions. Fly fishing is not nearly as challenging when all of the variables work in your favor… wind, temperature, barometric pressure, sun, etc….. But what happens when these things work against you? Some people pick up their spin rod. Some stay at home and bag the entire thing. These are the times I love to go fishing. It tests you in ways that easy days cannot and I think gives you a pretty good idea what you are made of.
My fly line was frozen for most of the day. My rod guides had to be cleared of ice every 5th drift. My feet and hands are still tingling as I type this blog entry. but you know what… 18 trout didn’t seem to care and that was fine by me 🙂 Next time it is really crappy out and you decide to go fishing anyhow, take a look along the river and don’t hesitate to wave. I promise I will wave back.
Good Luck and Tight Lines!
So I have finally made the decision to purchase a boat. I have settled on a guide quality pontoon craft for floating rivers and small lakes. This has truly been a process for me as I have been thinking about this for roughly a year. I am not a huge fan of more gear for the sake of more gear but there is a true method to my madness. I recently visited a beautiful trout stream in central PA with a friend and the entire afternoon we spent visiting one occupied trout hole after another. Angling pressure not only is hard on the fish… it is hard on me!
I am not a big fan of waiting which is why I typically avoid amusement parks at all cost. Fishing is my solitude, my zen time. I see anglers all the time in a boat and stare with envy as they fish waters that I can’t reach on foot. Granted, some of them pay money to guides that I don’t have but such is life. For the price of one or two guided days on the river, I could be the proud owner of a vessel that could bring me years of fishing pleasure on waters that most others can’t fish. I love the sense of adventure, the sense of freedom, and the true mobility.
I still have a few months to finish putting the final touches on my plan but I am truly excited and look forward to a whole new universe of fishing that awaits!
If you have a new adventure planned for 2011 I would love to hear a bout it! It can be big or small, cheap or lavish…. doesn’t matter as long as it involves a fly line!
So I was sitting here tonight tying a mouse fly in hopes of chasing some lunker browns this summer. For some reason I started thinking about some warmer weather which of course led me to carp….. Just goes to show you, you don’t have to wait for summer!