For Real

When there’s nothing to bitch about, I hardly know what to say.  As a diehard pessimist I’m nonplussed, frankly, by the good times the gods have showered down on me these last few weeks.  (Nonplussed, but, ahem, ever so grateful and thankful and reverent and just downright groveling and lacking in hubris.)

I had been contemplating writing a serious essay to Advance The Sport Of Fly Fishing–perhaps bashing buffs, ridiculing steelhead anglers, a gear shootout with side-by-side comparisons of the best types of empty containers to piss in during long winter kayak trips upon the lake, etc.  But alas, spring sprang upon me unawares, boisterously pinning me to the moist, verdant earth, and with heavy passionate breaths…uh, let us abandon silly metaphors for now and get on with the fishing.

Mike and I went out to the river and caught some nice fish.  In a fit of nervous excitement, I went over there again “after” work on a weekday and caught some more nice fish.  No boats full of bubbas and coolers were seen.  No raging floods of muddy water were endured.  It was good.

mike

bent

first

second

I thought to do some early season scouting of the morel grounds, in preparation for the first flushes in a couple weeks.  So I took the kids to the woods and was astounded to find abundant fungi.  We bagged up 21 nice “yellows” that were matured almost past their prime.

yellow

search

Spring is here for real.

Leap Day

It’s leap day so I get to put this up before the end of month deadline.  Of course, that’s a self-imposed deadline and so is what I call a “happy deadline”.  Generally speaking, I hate deadlines.  Apparently, many of you like them.  At least that is the impression I get by looking at online examples of cover letters.  “I work well under a deadline” the authors invariably lie.  My cover letter is direct and disarmingly honest: “I am six feet tall and know a lot of words.  I won’t drink or surf porn on the job.  Please consider me for the position of Director of Operations.  Find attached a picture of me with a 10 lb striper.”

Speaking of stripers I caught some in February.  That’s right.  Through a new spiritual regime of formalized prayers, curses, and human sacrifice, I achieved this awesome feat.  So instead of the usual February drivel where I post about going forth hopelessly to enjoy the solitude of nature, blah, blah, blah…what you get is this: after a fishing hiatus of six weeks, I went down to the river and caught some nice stripers and a fat channel catfish.  Bam.

tilted

early

second

catfish

Home Water

I went out on the lake in the high pressure, bright sun, and wind.  That was foolish and I repented of the decision in the end.  There was nothing there.

hopeless

Then I went up in the mountains and camped overnight, the goal being to catch wild trout.  I’m having a little trout phase this winter.  It behooves me to be reminded that fishing for little wild fish fulfills my angling desires.  For one, it’s relatively easy.  Relatively.  Plus the fish live in a nice place, which is true even if it’s trite to mention it.  I assume most fisherman have home waters.  My home waters exist in the Appalachians.  Anywhere else I fish, however pleasant or consuming, represents a deviation from the original home waters.  This stream was particularly nice, with big park-like bottoms that give me the feel of fishing in a hemlock cathedral.  But enough of this bullshit.  If you want to be exposed to a dewy-eyed nerd yammering on about his extreme sensitivity to natural beauty, you’ll have no problems finding that.

hemlocks

 

hugs

 

pink

I will mess with stripers a bit the next few weeks, but this is the winter doldrums,  a quiet time when I try to improve my character through deep contemplation or perhaps through reading a bunch pulp science fiction.

Mid Winter

At 9:30 pm on New Year’s eve, wearing my jammies,  I wondered if I should open the bottle of cheap champagne I bought for New Year’s eve 2005.  But I don’t like the stuff, my wife won’t drink it, and the bottle has become an important item of lowbrow decor in our household, perfectly complementing the broken futon and the empty mayonnaise jar collection .  So nah, I’ll skip it again, and save it for a similar contemplation next year.  I’m not a big New Year’s celebrator, though I like to think I’ve done my modest part in life to increase the general social level of drunkenness and debauchery, and thus have paid proper tribute to the spirit of the New Year’s eve celebration.  Anyway, the date is meaningless to the universe at large.  Anyone not aware of our arbitrary calendar (aliens, say), would not recognize the day we call January 1st as an important beginning for anything.  The day of the winter solstice is what matters.  I always feel an excitement on this day, a sense of lifting burdens and heightened prospects.  The worst of winter still lies ahead, but there will only be more good clean daylight in which to face it.  I like to fish in significant blocks of time that end at dark.  When dark comes in the middle of the afternoon, life sucks.  So we’re over that hump and into the new year.

Last year I fished a bit less, in terms of number of trips, than I have for many years.  It was my first full year of multi-offspring parenting, so I’ll just blame the situation on that.  I completely missed the fall striper thing, and that didn’t feel too bad, actually.  I’m consciously accumulating a vicious, pent-up, heart-full of blackest grudge against stripers that I will unleash in the spring, causing shock and awe in striperdom.  So last week I reset the clock and fished for trout.  I went alone to a mountain stream and caught, frankly, an assload of little wild trout.  I like it in the mountains on dim, lonely winter days.

medium high falutin

plenty mayo

I have no idea what this is all about.

huh

I took the kids fishing.  They tend to get soft during the holidays, and I can’t abide it.  They need a dose of stern survivalist reality in mid-winter.  So we took some worms we’ve had in the fridge since August and went out to the water.  We couldn’t catch any fish and so spent the time looking for scorpions, which is educational and something the kids enjoy.  Couldn’t find any of those either.

D

scorpions

Did you notice the lowbrow angler got hacked a few days ago?  Probably not.  Not to worry though, we’re all clean and disease free now.