One of the reasons I love fishing is that it takes you to beautiful places in search of beautiful things. If you've ever held a tuna, or a salmon, or a trout, or any number of other fish, you know that these can be beautiful creatures.
First, they were south of me: schoolies in Rhode Island. Then, they were suddenly north of me: schoolies on the North Shore. It was like I was the bulls eye no one could hit -- until I hit it this afternoon.
In the spring, you dream of your next trip. You also dream of the trips your friends are one, are just returned from. In the spring, the reports start streaming in. Recently, friends have gone to the Bahamas, to Boca for tarpon, and to the Miramichi for Atlantic salmon. I've been thinking about this last one a lot, as my close friend Ben Moody went salmon fishing for the first time on the Little Southwest Miramichi.
If fly fishing is a sport of delayed expectations -- the long winter, the thousand casts -- then April, the historic start to trout season and often the month when early schoolies arrive, is typically the month of fulfilled expectations. This year, that may not be the case.
The water? 52 degrees. The air? A bluebird 65-70. The Hendricksons? Hatching with profligacy. The trout? Unseen and nearly unfelt. Such was our fate on the first of serious trout forays this spring. Though the catch was disappointing, it was a beautiful day on the river with a friend, and so a day well spent. Here’s the story.
“Yes, but at least you get to go to beautiful places.” These are the words of reassurance offered to my girlfriend about my fly fishing. And it’s true: fly fishing does take you to truly beautiful places around the world.
This winter was not like last winter, nor like last winter. It was a winter for the ages -- one to endure. In driving around NH this past weekend, along country roads seemingly tunneled through snow piled feet high, the lesson was clear: the winter is not yet over.
It also begged the question: when will the season begin?
With spring approaching -- it is approaching, I tell myself, despite what the weather does -- I've stated tying regularly again. I'm trying to prepare for the season, sure. And I'm enjoying it. But I'm also enjoying remembering last season, and dreaming of plans for this coming one. My good friend Anton has described fishing as "pleasure deferred." I agree, though instances like this the pleasure is somehow both: deferred and immediate, present and future tense. Part of that pleasure lies in experimenting. And experimenting I have been.
Marc LeBlanc’s Green Spey fly is one of my favorite Spey flies. It bursts with color (which, in the depths of winter, is a great thing) and has, in the words of Megan Boyd, plenty of “life” to it.
I love working alone in the rod shop, as I always have someone with me. A few, in fact. My dad’s fly fishing workshop is rich in history. Every tool has had a full life. Every tool, it seems, knows more than I do.
At about this point in a New England winter, when the first warm spell has given way to more sub-zero temperatures, the opening of the fishing season once again appears like a mirage on the horizon: we’ve come so far, and seem no closer. And so it that at this very time of year, the fishing trips your friends take are nearly as good as the ones you hope to take in a few month’s time.
Atlantic salmon fishing has been described as many things—“the fish of a thousand casts” and “a jerk on one end waiting for a jerk on the other” to name only two—but of all the descriptions, this is the one I have come across most frequently: “the king of fish, the sport for kings.” How refreshing, then, to find a river that makes kings available to the kings’ men.