As far as winters go, this hasn’t been much of one, but despite the lack of snow and surfeit of sunny weather, everybody’s doing the same things they’d do if they were staring at 8 foot snow berms.
Chris Raine’s in his shop, huddled over some massively dangerous power tool (they’re all massively dangerous to me). He’s turning piles of high-grade bamboo into shavings and fly rod strips, and eventually high-dollar bamboo fly rods.
Edmondson’s been traveling a lot for work, Wayne’s installing flooring in his own Man Cave, Ian Rutter’s gritting his way through the eastern show circuit, and Dave Roberts is teaching fly tying classes and calling to taunt every time he scores another cloudy-day, Rogue River BWO hatch.
Me? The last pair of weeks have been a little unsettling, involving odd pains and news you’re not wholly sure you want to hear. It’s all good now – in fact it’s possible to go fly fishing without wondering if my cell phone coverage is good enough to get a call out in a hurry – but it’s still winter, which is to say none of us are fly fishing as much as we could be.
Yesterday – in a good post-doctor mood – a quick trip to the river would have been stellar, but in the winter, there are damned few “quick” trips anywhere.
With an hour (tops) in hand, I found myself tromping through the nearby woods with Wally the Wonderdog, cleaning up piles of shotgun shells left behind by slobs shooters.
In the summer, a quick trip to a nearby stream emerges at a single impulse; it involves little more than wading boots, a light fly rod and an Altoids tin of flies (maybe a extra few minutes if the fish were eating dries).
Those are the trips the Undergrounders rarely read about (for all sorts of reasons I’m not apologizing about that), but during winter, there’s more gear, more clothing, and – for some reason – way more searching the Man Cave for lost crap.
And speaking from a purely legal perspective, the nearby little waters (with the stupid fish) are closed.
Winter’s the time of year when you can say “no” to fly fishing for all sorts of reasons, and the bar on what constitutes a “good” reason seems to have fallen considerably from its summer levels.
I’m not getting flies tied and fly lines cleaned, my office is still a mess, the Man Cave garage is still in disarray after the sheet rock people folded, spindled and mutilated it, and those writing projects are still moving slowly.
I’m not advocating sloth or watching I Love Lucy re-runs or even [gasp] wasting time on the Internet; I’m just wondering where my summer fly fishing time – that handful of disconnected hours each week which normally find me on the river – goes when the weather turns cold.
I’m still fly fishing enough to stay sane – a big improvement from a few years ago when the Upper Sacramento was closed to fishing in winter – but I’m not fly fishing enough to escape the thought I should be doing it more.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll go fishing, and with any luck, find a few answers.
See you on the river, Tom Chandler.