The shipping information on my Abel TR arrived and I realized the waiting is finally coming to an end.
I track it from Oregon to Michigan and each morning checking the US Post Office website to see its latest location. Only to check again an hour later to see if it, somehow, magically teleported to my doorstep. (I suspect this will one day be a premium shipping feature for those of us who have zero patience.) Perhaps, the USPS could make a come back by way of quantum physics…. reality sets in and I realize I will have to wait a couple more days.
Friday morning, following my board meeting, I am online checking the status – arrived in Michigan and in route. I managed to work until about 3pm before announcing I need to head home because my reel just arrived – yes!
On the drive home I contemplated if I had enough daylight to make a river trip…wishful thinking but not an option. It would have to wait until Saturday. That thought was followed by the realization that I had my nieces 10th birthday party from 12-3pm. A perfect time for doing nothing of notice in the morning or evening. Dang! Sunday it is.
As I pull into my driveway I am thrilled to see that not only is my reel at my door step but also my new William Joseph Fishing Vest/Backpack. Merry Christmas and Happy Valentines all in one day!
I quickly open the reel and spend a few minutes admiring the craftsmanship. I give it a quick polish and a few good turns before I attach it to my rod. Having a bit of a Sword and Stone moment, a smile of satisfaction emerges. The idea of fly fishing for the next four months settles my restless soul.
After fulfilling the family obligations on Saturday I plan for my first solo trip on Sunday.
Waking early, I pack for the day, load the car, stop for coffee and head north. About an hour and half later I reach my destination; Baldwin Bait and Tackle. I walk in with rod and reel in tote still needing leader, tippet and stonefly nymphs. I turn to an unsuspecting Alex and explain I need his help to get me rigged up for a day on the river…and by the way, I have a general idea of what I am doing, but not really.
Looking back on it, I suppose I should have actually taken the time to tie on my own flies, leader and tippet, but at the time it seem like a fine idea to have someone else do it for me (some lessons learned are more subtle than others). That being said, Alex was good to give me a refresh course on the cinch knot and blood knot (yeah I decided to buy the swivels). Basically, he set my entire line for me. Ahhhh, I am finally I am ready for the river. Thanks Alex!
My salmon story, albeit out of season, is that I am returning to the river where my love of fly fishing was born. I never did catch a fish that day, but it wasn’t really about fishing persay, it was about learning to cast. The Pere Marquette is where I threw my first fly. I feel comfortable there and figured I could wade a good section of the river on my own.
I spent thirty minutes in the parking lot prepping for what I suspected would be a good four to five hours on the river. (My anticipated toe tolerance for thirty-four degrees.) This is where I met my first fishing buddies. Alden from Grand Rapids was giving me the morning update. I confessed (it was Sunday and all) that it was my first trip out with my new gear and my first trip on my own. I followed with a few questions about the roll cast and throwing nymphs. His friend Howard joins the conversation, they give me a warming pack, a quick overview on the roll cast and wish me luck. I was on my way. As I headed down the trail Alden yells out, “we’ll see you out there in a bit.” I have to admit, I was relieved I made contact with someone before heading out for the day.
I spent about thirty minutes walking up stream before starting to fish my way back. It was a quiet day on the river, no doubt the chilly temperatures and recent snow fall kept most away. There were only about a half dozen and spread along the river meant you could easily fish alone for hours and not see anyone – how refreshing.
I spent the next four hours trying to find my roll cast; apparently, I lost it last spring.
The benefits of fishing alone is no one can laugh at your cast or count how many flies you lose. The downside….no one is there to explain where you are going wrong. Needless to say the fish saw me coming and likely had enough time to organize their version of the phone tree.
After hours of practicing my cast, cinch knot, and wading skills I heard Alden and Howard closing in. Actually, they landed two nice browns in the hole I just fished. Good for them! is what I will say for the good of the blog, but it wasn’t exactly what crossed my lips. I pulled my line and walked up stream a bit to visit. We shared stories and Alden showed me the roll cast. Ah yes, now that I see, that makes perfect sense. I wished them well and announce I am calling it day. We plan to catchup again next time and I make my way back to the car.
Although fish were not involved in my day of fishing, I throughly enjoyed myself, got a feel for my new rod and reel and plan to roll on another day.
Perhaps, it will be a touch warmer and I’ll have chance to work on my technique.