It seems like its been too damn long since I have been fishing. In reality it HAS been too damn long since I have been fishing. I missed out on some the best the north west fall has to offer and found myself staring the tumultuous beginning of winter steelhead season right in the face.
I had a damn good summer and fall for flinging flies and now its time to pay penance; to cold rivers, and a fish that is on the verge of extinction. Frigid cold days swinging a fly that resembles nothing found in nature will cleanse the memories of easy summer fish from my mind. long - cold hours of wondering if my fly missed a fishes' strike zone by inches or feet, (or if there was a strike zone in the first place) will melt my confidence as a fellow who knows how to catch a fish or two.
The only pleasure I am allowed, is the "aaahhh" feeling as my running line snaps tight against the spool of my reel after making a good cast, and perhaps the resolution that I did my best after swinging through a good piece of steelhead water. May be if I am supremely lucky, or blessed- a legendary fish the color of steel will see fit to smash my simple offering of fur, feathers, barbless hooks.
To land it would be a hope far too ambitious and greedy for a neophyte such as my self. just slam the fly, shake your head, and say goodbye. Thats all I want. That seems to be all I live for this time of year. A small token to prove; that yes, I am indeed learning. yes I am doing something right after all, and this festering cesspool of insecurities that resembles my own wader clad self while "trying to hit it right" is only an illusion created by a fishery on the brink of collapse, and a population of fishermen reaching overflow, or a body on the edge of hypothermia.
Until that "SLAM" which I know is waiting for me somewhere and somewhen in a winter river, I practice the cast, the swing, and pay my dues in a world where sometimes there isn't a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or a steelhead ready to bite.
Either way its good to be back. Its good to be cold. and its good to be fishing the winter.