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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Dry-spell, Gut Feelings, and Lagging Winter Days

Sometimes the insects are flying about, the fish are rising, and the sun is beaming warmly on the face. Unfortunately this past week or so has not fit into that category of "times.'  Most of the days are gloomy, and after a nice long warm streak, the temperatures begin to shift again towards the cold. The fish seem confused also.  Some bugs are coming off, but the fish continue to take with the half-heartedness of winter.  Still, just tramping the stream-sides with a thermos of hot coffee in the pack is better than sitting at home tying flies or doing chores.

My last outing was really strange. I have spent a lot of time in the woods, alone, and fished some really remote areas, at least as remote as one can get in the southeastern United States.  It took a long time, but over the years I have found comfort in being alone in the forest.  I was scouting some new water, and as I started up the trail, not even a quarter-mile in, I froze.  No, nothing crossed my path. No wildlife or odd person revealed themselves. Nothing happened at all.  Nothing except for the strange, burning sensation in my chest that I should not continue up this trail.  While there have been times in the past that I have had some odd discomfort at the beginning of an outing that was soon relieved by the forest, I have never experienced anything remotely like the sensation that I was having.  I immediately turned around and headed back to the car.  As I neared the car, I sat down on a log at the confluence of two tributaries to collect my thoughts.  My frayed nerves finally settling, I decided to give the other branch a try.  Pool after beautiful, riffle-run pool failed to produce even the slightest bump.  After several hours, and several desperate fly changes (not doing so well with the one-fly thing), I decided to call it quits.  Some piping hot coffee on the bank did wonders, as did my renewed sense of peace and security in the woods.  I didn't find out if my feelings were justified from earlier.  Maybe I missed out on one of the best days of fishing in my life.  Maybe that would have been my last trip in this life.  I'll never know, but setting my ego and pride aside made me feel more in tune with the forest than ever.


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