The post Christmas mood often will have some casualties. Love gone bad, a wrong gift or just burnt cookies. With everyone home, the ole homestead can become a battle field. What's a guy to do?
The logging trails are snowed in, river access is difficult and not that inviting. I have this treatment of sorts that works for me. When the house gets a little louder than an International Airport I set up camp in a deep dark part of the attic near my stored fly fishing equipment. Things that I enjoy. Checking reels, rods, inventorying fly boxes, in other words...playing with my toys. I know that the hatches are months away, but it is soothing to my soul to spend some time holding those things that make life so enjoyable. The thought of warmer days to come, my rod in hand, I relive last years very successful trips to the river. So many trout and salmon. Released trout that will be there again. Ten inch Brookies that will be 12 inches. Where will they be hiding this season.
I am blessed with an imagination and the ability to day dream while looking attentive. These traits I developed in my school days. They were invaluable then and still are. In the attic I pass the afternoon away dreaming of slashing trout. Cabin fever will be knocking at the door soon so the imagination works surviving our snow bound northern hemisphere.
The attic offers a peaceful place that does not exist just one floor down. You just never bump into anyone in the attic. Those questions...where are you going? What are you doing? Hiding in the attic is like you are invisible. I guess only a lone back packer, fly fish angler or canoeist would understand. So until after the New Year when the tourist numbers drop, children return to college, and the cabin returns to normalcy, I'll return to where I keep some snacks and a cigar, in the attic for some peace on earth.
Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat...me too. Trying to stay physically active is hard with 3 feet of snow on the ground and this weeks low of -20 degrees below zero. I just can't get off the couch for an outdoor adventure. The trout do very little this time of year, kinda like the Detroit Lions. My two boys are home from college and their Christmas gifts I already have...Federal Reserve Notes. The river accesses are dwindling due to snow bound secondary roads. Can cabin fever be just around the corner?
The nice thing about after the holiday season is the fly fishing equipment goes on sale in January. That special reel I have been dreaming about will be come tantalizingly affordable. Patience is a virtue. Fly fishing used to be an expensive sport. Not so any more. Golf, skiing, even a hunting rifle cost more than a fly fishing outfit. Years ago when I worked for Orvis a good set of waders was $ 250.00, a rod $ 225.00, reel $ 200.00. Even floating lines were $ 65.00. That has all changed. On a bet, I believe I could get a fly on the water for under $250.00 (quality may need to be ignored). That is less than a season ski pass or a tee time at one of the exclusive golf courses in my area. Heck, my senior fishing license is only $6. The gas to drive to a river cost more. The rewards are many. A quiet day on a stream is indescribable. Fishing alone or with a friend, I assume no one fishes with their worst enemy, gives me the strength to face the world. So for those who aren't religious, or have suspicions of an existence of Santa Claus, bide your time. Take back that bulky knit sweater with Santa Clauses face incorporated on the front. Start your fly fishing adventure.
You have always wanted to fly fish...see you on a river in 2014.
Yes Santa is a fly fisherman, for we believers it isn't often that you run into Santa Clause on the Maple river this time of year. I guess I just got lucky. There he was, St. Nick, 7 foot / two piece rod, 5 weight floating line, fingering through his fly box. Gosh he takes good care of himself, he hasn't aged a day in my entire life. I usually don't bring up a persons work for obvious reasons, but that's all he could talk about. So I took the opportunity to ask some pretty forward questions...Santa is the proverbial "Lump of Coal" to be handed out in large numbers this year? Are the Scrooges of the world even more so? Are the planets political leaders who are flirting with war on his naughty list? Santa had some revealing answers.
Quickly I changed the subject to defuse his concerns over the upcoming holiday. Mr. Claus, I explained, tighten up your loop in the over head cast and shorten it up a little. Lay it on the water hard. Get it down to the trout. I checked his fly box out. I told him to skip the "Christmas Island" streamer, it was more of a saltwater fly. I suggested to Mr. Claus, try a Clouser (no relation) Red & White streamer, that candy cane look really works this time of year. Now Nick relax, strip in your floating line slow, quartering the fly across the river in a gentle down stream drift. The trout hit lightly. They are hard to detect until you try to retrieve your streamer, then all heck breaks loose.
The few hours I spent with him, I will say he is indeed a jolly old soul. Every time he laughed his wadders shook like a bowl full of jelly. I only lasted a few hours in the stream due to the extreme cold. Last year's Christmas fleece I got from him just wasn't that warm...of course I wasn't going to tell him that. However, his heavy red wool ensemble looked warm on him all day. As we parted he had one very important request for me..."If you see Mrs. Claus, don't tell her we were fishing on the river"! Oh don't worry, I replied, that's an unwritten law.
On the way home I thought, whoa, Nick you better watch out. I'm telling you why. That will get you a lump of coal for sure...so be good for goodness sake!
Sweet Is The Lore That Nature Brings