I could talk about the crowds, the people wading across the water your swinging, or maybe the few hundred fish that those people foul hooked. Or, I could talk about the difficulties of hooking a king salmon on the swing and controlling that fish in whitewater, while surfing down a bottom of slate. I could even tell you about losing the only pair of keys to the Jeep, having no cell phone service, and spending the night standing in a pitch black parking lot in the freezing cold rain. But, this one goes deeper than all of that.
After our month long trip in the Caribbean, I returned home and experienced a let down of sorts. I had trouble getting excited about fly fishing. All that silver spoiled me rotten and I could no longer muster a trip to catch a trout, or even a carp. Over a sixty day period, I fished around three times. There was something wrong, or I just needed a break. I couldn't put my finger on it.
As it happens every September, the annual fall migrations begin and Adam and I were talking tributaries. When we hopped in the Jeep to make our first pilgrimage of the fall, I was finally excited to go fishing again. I am guessing the thought of a king slamming a monstrous streamer on the swing would get anyone's blood boiling but the weather and scenery added to the excitement. It was prime weather for the fall, with temperatures in the low 50s punctuated by driving rain and wind. It was a perfect time to be on the river.
A Perpetual Series of Occasions of Hope
It was here, a mile or so from the car, where we finally found open water, and had it all to ourselves. I had a chance to relax, get my mind straight and just focus on the task at hand. The fishing was slow as we were fishing the upper portion of the river for "old" fish. However, the rhythm of a skagit cast heightened my senses. The steps echoed in my thoughts, lift, set, forty five degree thrust, and the formation of a d-loop. An acceleration of the bottom hand, guided by the top that stops short, launching cast after cast to the opposite bank. Down and across and the constant question of, to mend or not to mend? The ever present goal of maintaining tension with the fly just incase an errant strike should occur. The task should have been monotonous, but it wasn't.
I was learning on my own, finding the sweet spot on my skagit compact while switching flies in an out. A perpetual series of occasions of hope. What amounted to simply a day of casting practice, was the most excited I got about fly fishing in over a month. I was finding my casting stroke and at the same time reigniting a flame deep within the very chasm of my soul. In a few short hours, I had forgotten what ailed my mind and instead focused on the migrating fish of my dreams, that have haunted me the entire week.
I have to go back.