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Entry 2: 7/29/14

Posted 07-30-2014 at 01:29 AM by jeed

RIGHT]Entry 2: 7/29/14[/RIGHT]

So since the first entry, I've had about four more outings: three on the fly, as you old guys say.

Second outing, wasn't anything to write home about. After my first dance, my resolve was a bit shaken. Admittedly, I wasn't ready for that end of the skunk at the lake; She put me in check with authority and I was laid out in shock at Her mercy. My fiancé, the saint she is, wanted to do something fun for our anniversary (8 years? seems like 20...), so we went to Kent falls. Pretty water falls, a little hiking, some good local eateries to munch on the lawn, and a stocked trout run for me. It was a fun little stretch of water, but no fish to speak of. I did however, get a chance to practice some short range stream casting, so I didn't consider it a total waste.

In my first post, I didn't mention my own personal loki. I usually don't speak ill of other fisherman, but this kid requires special attention. He must be in his early teens, and he's definitely fished awhile. On that first trip, he LOUDLY came round the lake asking everyone if they caught anything, telling them where they should fish, what he was planning to catch that day. I've also never seen anyone throw a screaming fit over a 5" perch like him. I know, he's a kid, he doesn't know yet; I just wish he'd ditch the skinny jeans for pants that fit and learn a little reference for the water...Maybe get a haircut(wow where did that come from?). it just seemed that day that he was Her chosen agent meant to shake my cool and maybe he did, just a little.

Third outing was back to the lake: in hindsight, I went for the wrong reasons. After 2 skunked outings, I was feeling indignant. I hit the trails with a purpose. No wandering, no side trails, bee line right to my spot on the lake and my friend, the old log. This time, I went just before lunch, and I think She sensed my fear, because it was quite windy, which initially I didn't mind because it blew off some of the heat from the noon sun. At the head of the lake, to the side of the mouth of the feeding stream, there's a small peninsula I saw get some attention, and it was recommended by loki. So I waded across, put my bag down and went to business. I was casting into the wind, so I called upon Mel, and tried off-shoulder roll casting. I honestly didn't do half bad, but as the day grew older the wind grew worse so I was forced to call it a day, still fishless.

The fourth outing, I went back to the basics. I pulled out my trusty salt box and my 13ft surf rod, gave the old girl the once over with some wax and reel lube, and hit the bait shop. I went with what I knew, what I grew up on, what I know I wouldn't mess up while not thinking about it. I bought a 3 pack of mackerel and hit the sea wall to chunk for bluefish. At this point, I was contemplating voodoo or a ritual exorcism of my gear, so I needed to have a serious talk with Oceanus about some things. So as I did when I was but a wee fry, I started the ritual with the tail and worked my way through the back meat of the three mackerel, three after all is said to be a magical number and fisherman are superstitious so don't you dare judge me. The water was calm that day so casting out was easy. I shut down, methodically set up my leader and steel braid tippet, weaved on the fish tail, and let it rip out to sea. then I cracked open my Gatorade, sat down in my chair, closed my eyes....and waited.

It was a good day: a strong breeze at my back, clear skies and not a lot of people on the wall besides the passing runners. I brought my rig in to recast a few times, but no action. I wasn't really surprised, my local shop recommended going for porgie, but I had a feeling I wasn't out there to catch anything that day. Sitting in that chair, listening to the waves hit the rocks, feeling the warm embrace of the sea breeze; I was reminded of what kept me into this as I was younger, and in the rhythmic ebb and flow of the waves, me and Oceanus communed and plotted over our shared mistress. By the time my bait ran out, my provisions depleted so I called it and went home.

Now for the latest outing, today.

Since today was my 27th birthday, the one day out of the year where I get to do what I want to do unharassed, I went to the lake. Between the seawall and today, I've done a lot of thinking. As I made my way around the lake, I kept thinking of, much to the begrudged credit of a highschool literature teacher, Henry David Thoreau's Walden. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.” I don't know why that quote popped into my head as I traversed the trails around the lake, as I was sure I pure a rock solid mental block on that part of the curriculum. Since my conversation with oceanus, I put a lot of thought into why I enjoy this. In that time, I Watched "Kiss the Water" and "A river Runs through it" at the behest of this lovely forum, and watched a few more Mel Krieger videos on the tube of you. Mel always seemed to make sense, so I watched more. This time, I tried something different, and with a war cry: I aint no god danged joe smakopop.

I found my log gone, so I said a silent prayer for my lost friend who was probably moved to the woods where he could rest and become one with the earth again, so I found a friendly stretch of grass then set up my rod. Until now, I hadn't fished a dry fly. floatant I had, patterns in the box as well, but I never tried it. I realized that up to that point i was only using dark wet flies and nymphs, and maybe I should try something with alittle color. so I tied on a cahill stimulator, dabbed a drop of floatant on it, went into the drink up to my calves and.... took a deep breath and did nothing but stop the rod. there I was, in the water, roll casting out. 20 feet, 30 feet, 45... softly mumbling "womp....womp..." as I cast. I found a spot with alittle breathing room, so I threw in some false casts to keep it dry and work on my presentation. The day went on and I lost that stimulator to a tree branch, so I threw on a ginger wulf, and that snapped off the end of my line on a particularly vigorous back cast. Then I said screw it, and tied on a worm pattern I picked up at orvis for such an occasion.

What happened next was such a breakthrough, I can hardly believe it still. As Mel said in his essence of fly casting video, a good roll cast feel like planting a meat cleaver into a chopping block. Until now, my roll casting was pretty weak: poor loops abound, line just flopping in a puddle on the surface etc. But as I stood there in the water with that worm, something clicked and I planted that cleaver and felt the rod bend and watched the line just roll across the surface and plop that pink thing right in the water. I couldn't believe it had happened so I tried it again, and again, making sure muscle memory remembered the right motion, and cast after cast got better. I'm no pro, but I made real progress on that casting stroke. Then the whopper! So I brought the fly up to false cast it a bit, and I unconsciously said "downup!" as went into my back cast, and as if the man was guiding my hand himself, I started double hauling. I had done it before to poor results, but this must have been my third hour because at that moment, my left hand went into a rhythm and I was in sync with and could feel the tension of the line and I played into the motion, edging my line farther out with every stroke. I'll admit it: there I was, knee deep in the lake, smiling like an idiot, enthusiastically and quite audibly saying "downup! downup!" as I cast, and when my line gently touched down in the water, I looked down to see what had slide across my leg. It was those fingerlings again, playing around my legs in the water.

While I didn't catch anything, I left the waters edge with a feeling of solid accomplishment. as I sat there watching the little buggers scoot around in the water around me, I tipped my hat to them and said, "Report this to your superiors: I Am John the Fisherman."

And yes, I proudly hummed the tune all the way back to my car.
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