“It’s Nice Just To Get Out”
“I don’t care if I catch fish, or not.” This is what I am thinking as I check all the fluids and tire pressure in my rusted and dented fourteen year old vehicle in preparation for the big river trip I have been planning for weeks. I could have bought a new vehicle if I had time to shop, and money to spend but, there were fish to chase and certain necessities I needed to fill out my fish chasing arsenal. Besides; everything (almost) happened to be on sale when I needed it. Ready to go, I jump in the driver’s seat and see the note I keep pasting to the inside of the windshield as a reminder to talk to the guy at the hardware store about the peeling paint on my house. The paint can probably wait until after spring trout season, unless the stripers are running hot. This reminds me that my 8wt. striper rod should be replaced with a 9wt. or better. I need to find a sale. I stick the paint guy note to the dashboard (just so I won’t forget) and jump on the turnpike for the first hour-and-a half of the three-hour drive. As I’m driving, I’m surprised at how alert I am as I had spent the last three nights, staying up way past normal bed time digging up any info I could on the area I’m going to fish. Then, there were flies to re-arrange, leaders to build (just in case the monster I imagine catching, steals one), flies to re-arrange, fishing tactics to go over, and flies to re-arrange. On the drive, I’m feeling pretty good and am in awe of the wild Maine Turnpike scenery of pine trees and tar and think, “This is what it’s all about.” I grab a bite of some kind of sandwich and a swig of what may, or may not be, a soda I opened today. The thought that “it really doesn’t matter if I catch fish or not, as long as I just get outdoors and wet a line,” comforts me during the ride.
Once on the high, chocolate soup river, I tie on a big, flashy streamer and start pounding anything that might hold a fish. A couple other fishermen stop by and say they are going to bag it and mention how nice it is to get out, no matter what. I agree and pound a stand of boulders with my chunk of meat. After a couple hours with no luck, I decide to hit some feeder streams. The feeder streams are high and brown so, the “Mickey Finn” with a “San Juan” trailer gets the start. Up and down the brook I go with no strikes. On goes the “Klinkhammer” with a soft hackle, hare’s ear emerger as a dropper, and gets no strikes. On goes the (fill in the blank) and gets the same results. Even though I’m striking out, I find the sound of the brook babbling through the moss laden panorama before me, to be enough of a treat to justify my efforts. (I wish I had a camera). And so went the day.
On the drive home, I have that feeling that you can only get from spending a day of physical activity in the great outdoors. I didn’t catch a fish today but, I am fulfilled. I drive to my road and almost pull in but, at the last second, speed by and head to my “go-to” brook and within five minutes, bring a fine native brookie to hand. (Not that catching a fish matters all that much).