Don’t Believe It!


Our weather forecast says to beware this morning, there will be thunderstorms! Rain in the Catskills? Preposterous! Don’t believe it!

I missed a morning’s fishing last week because I was foolish enough to believe such a forecast. Missed the afternoon too, as it would cloud up and tease us from time to time, even adding a roll of thunder or two for effect, but we received no rainfall. Not that I am advocating fishing when thunder calls, for I am not. A flash or a rumble is all that’s required to get me off the water as quickly as possible. I don’t mess with lightning.

Clouds and silence though are another matter, and that was the predominating condition for that day. I’ll be heading out to the river this morning. If Mark Luck intervenes, I could very well be chased off the river by some of those flashes and rumbles, but it won’t rain, at least not appreciably. I was thoroughly wetted one day last week, though a mile down the road from the riverside parking area I drove back into bright, hot sunshine and dry countryside.

I just checked the NYC Reservoir system status and totaled the rainfall for May, June and July at 9.16 inches, nearly three inches below the historic average. That is a 25% deficit, and the effects are compounded by the hotter than normal temperatures that continue unabated. I think back to a couple of glorious days in mid-June, shivering on a 38 degree Sunday morning as John and I both introduced some new bamboo to the river. What I wouldn’t give for August to begin with a week of mornings like that!

Right now I am debating the relative merits of fishing the four weight Cumberland Queen versus the shorter Garrison with the number three line. Minimizing disturbance to the water is paramount! The longer four weight will handle a longer leader, but the three weight certainly isn’t limited to a short one, and will land with more delicacy. Perhaps the pain in my wrist will dictate my choice. A morning’s fishing with the longer rod means fewer casting strokes, less wear and tear. It is nearly August, and that wrist has powered a lot of casts. If the cooler weather and rainfall I pray for arrives, my dry fly season will last into October.

John called last night, talking of grouse and whitetails and the hunting season that arrives as dry fly season wanes. He has been busy at his cabin this summer, setting stands and trimming trails, opening up bits of forest to foster the thickets favored by the grouse we both enjoy. We talked of fishing too of course, thinking ahead to a morning on the river, fishing apart, as we have come to call it in this year of the pandemic.

High summer, always a season when I pause and think of autumn leaves and crisp mornings. Perhaps my shot column will find a bird or two this year! I can picture myself late in winter, tying flies with feathers plucked from that first Catskill bird, feel the take of the trout to that same fly swung through a gentle run as steam rises from the river on another winter’s morn. But wait, no need to rush the season, for we know not how many remain.

Cold water and warm sunshine, a gentle cast and a quiver on the surface of the pool…cherish each moment.

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