July 12, 2010


There is no sanctuary of virtue like home.
Edward Everett

I had this great new plan. Well-conceived. Based in study, accumulated wisdoms, and last but certainly not least, emerging conditions.
The Plan I speak of concerned a new approach I would be utilizing in these early summer days on my river. I spoke of it briefly in my prior post. A long rod. A sinking line. Big uglies.
And then my life changed. Again.
Let's not delve into details. The details are all around us almost every day. They involve people, and relationships, and revolve around deciding, or knowing what's really important and what to do about the decisions necessary to effect the way it will, or should be. Again and again. But, these particular details are for me alone, for now; for my night times when I'm alone, sleepless, pacing endlessly way, way down deep inside my thoughts.
TDR ( my river) is flowing with much more volume much longer into the summer months this year. Our spring saw to that, with record rainfall and cooler temperatures that delayed the thaw at the higher altitudes, extending the run-off period for nearly a month and a half longer than usual.
I stop for a moment before descending to the water, surveying the shoreline down the run where I have always first come when the flows have receded. The alders and willows are still knee-high in the water, their lower branches etching gentle wakes in the currents passing underneath. I would be in water deeper than I am tall if I were to attempt to cast from where I usually stand. Every cast for quite some time will be a roll. I will not have room for a standard cast for several more weeks.
But there is a silver lining to this, which I will discover when I am done with my appraisal and finally settle on a position from which to fish.
I now stand between two bushy alders, which are some fifteen feet apart, which are still in waist deep water, both extending their branches out over and into the water. It is through this opening where I have in the past years been able to wade far enough out into the river to effectively roll cast a good forty to fifty feet almost straight across the currents as they move past me here. This year, I am limited by the flow to a window smack dab between those alders some fifteen, maybe twenty feet closer to the bank than where I normally would be. In fact, because of the brush I am surrounded by, I can manage only the most rudimentary roll cast, worrying more about hanging my soft hackle high in the overhanging branches than getting any distance on my cast.
My first delivery is in fact made slingshot style, pulling just enough line off the reel to allow me to use the rod's elasticity to propel the fly. Once launched, using my rod much as you would a bow to shoot an arrow, my softhackle lands no more than eight feet from me, while I utter a silent thanks to the Sage gods for making such a wonderfully supple ten-foot five-weight. I rip line off the reel and mend it out quickly, which allows the bead-headed soft hackle to sink in the water column as it is pulled downstream briefly before I feel the line tension and know, rather than see, that it is now carving its short arc through the currents toward the bank.
That's when I discover the silver lining in all this consternation. Turns out that the slow-to-dissipate higher flows have encouraged the fish, at least in this section of the river, to take up or remain in comfortably safe lies still somewhat closer to the bank than is the norm for this time of year. Now, as my line slowly tightens with the current, I am suddenly made aware that what was only a very short time ago thought to be an obstacle is in reality an advantage. The clarity of that sensation pulses in my brain, as I feel, then see, the rod bend from a savage take.
The type 3 sinking line is in my vest, along with the film canister of uglies I'd originally planned to employ on this, my first foray to my river this summer.
I don't use them. There's something to be said about the comfort zone, the stasis, the inner sanctum of that comfort, and what led me there. Of denying the odds. Telling no lies. There's been enough change in my life lately. Decisions have been made, and a direction established. Straight ahead I go, into a future I'm forced to admit that I'm really no more sure of than before, but at least now, now, my head, and most significantly, my heart, are clear. My focus is at last sharper now than ever. The conception is one of creativity, based firmly in the wisdom of experiences both on, and away, from my river. The ebbs and flows are similar. It is my footing that is now better.

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