Some things we have control over, others little or none whatsoever. Typically, our sphere of influence plays second fiddle to our much greater, but often less relevant, sphere of concern. So while we trust that moisture will return here to the valley floor sooner rather than later, it is important to get out and enjoy these balmy days while they last. Ride the wave while it is there to be ridden, rather than wish it were another.
For me fishing in January is generally confined to a few brief hours around the middle of a calm, sunny day, a narrow window of opportunity with a goal nothing more elaborate than to stand in a river somewhere and fill the lungs with fresh air, the cold in the extremities calling me back to the hearth before long. All the better if during that brief communion, I get to feel the strong, if somewhat sluggish pull of a fish on the end of the line, a reassurance that despite the short, cold days and icy nights, life still stirs down there in the deeper reaches of the river.
Never before have I felt inspired to air up the boat this early in the year, transplanting the piles of stuff which nature decrees must accumulate on any surface or object that remains stationary for too long. Ski boots, snowboards and miscellaneous camping gear was swiftly relocated, the boat dragged out into the light of day a couple of months earlier than is custom. On several occasions I’ve floated in February, as much a rage against cabin fever and winter’s seeming endless icy grip as any serious expectation of catching fish.
But this time around, the consistent warm weather and accommodating water levels were too much to resist. I called up brother-in-law and ArkAnglers owner Greg Felt, who fortunately was of similar mind, and away we went. The kayakers playing at the river park, the bikers and hikers out and about, and dogs swimming in the river all spoke of a day in April or May, not January.
All things considered, the fishing was excellent. Floating the town stretch, we boated four, including a couple of lovely rainbows, missed a few more, and all that in shirt sleeves to boot. Stonefly nymphs and hare’s ears seemed to be on the fishes menu, with the one stomach we pumped revealing a healthy diet of primarily olive colored caddis larva.
Speaking of healthy diets, a routine visit to my doctor a few weeks ago, occasioned by turning fifty, revealed a couple of things, not the least of which is the mind’s propensity for believing what it wants to believe, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. When the good doc informed me that since my last visit, some five or six years ago, my waistline had accumulated eight to ten pounds of carry on, my first reaction was one of disbelief.
“There must be something wrong with your scales. I’ve always weighed this much since I turned thirty.”
He smiled patiently. “Whatever.”
Ruminating on this a few days, I declared to my wife that I was thinking about losing some weight, but not enough to actually try. She suggested that perhaps I give up the frosty stuff for a bit and see what effect that has. So the Mellsop household declared an early Lent, no alcohol for forty days. Rest assured that should this experiment see my weight start a downward trend, I intend to make the requisite caloric adjustments to other parts of my diet to accommodate a resumption of my love affair with a PBR or two every now and again.
So it is good to remind yourself every once in a while that denial is more than a river in Egypt. Consequently, right now, seltzer water is the beverage of choice. As Greg says, “It tastes just like Coors Light, but without the unpleasant aftertaste.”