Small Moments

Though my passion runs to fishing for large, difficult trout with dry flies, bamboo rods and classic reels, much of my love for the outdoors is founded in the small moments. Some have been captured, and thus may be shared in photos, other shared only in words, and some so brief as to bring a smile, a hint of recognition before they are gone.

Early mornings tying flies by the open window at Glenmorangie Lodge: listening to the wild turkeys gobbling at sunrise, inhaling deep draughts of the mountain air as I fashioned dry flies for the day’s fishing: cherished memories of some of my favorite trips two decades ago!

Too many anglers fail to reap the best rewards of their sport, concerned solely with their fish count. They fish a handful of days per year at breakneck speed. Loud, brash and celebratory when counting fish, they turn sallow, disgruntled when the “bite” isn’t on. To take the fullest measure of the outdoor experience, one must learn to take what the river offers.

Favorite rod in hand, anticipating a memorable hatch from another season, and watching for that first rise! It didn’t happen that way on this day, but the feeling of those first steps into bright water was my keepsake for the day.

The company of friends is a great part of the angling experience. Not crowds mind you, but a favored companion can add new dimensions to the day…

A quiet afternoon at a “secret spot” on a long awaited outing with an old friend.

A lovely calm evening on the float I barely lived to take, and the simple joy of feeling my own heart beating as the mayflies boiled from the riffle amid the splashes of feeding trout. The flurry of activity was brief, but the feeling remains with me forever!
An unexpected visit…well met indeed!

Sharing that moment of puzzlement over just what might tempt a maddeningly recalcitrant riser when catching myself doing the exact same thing upstream. Two friends who both recognize that many of the river’s gifts have no fins, enjoying the day though neither of us solved Nature’s sublime puzzle.

Catching a fine wild trout, and walking upstream and giving that fly to your best friend, so you can watch him catch a bigger one!

Light is the master artist of the outdoors. How many cherished small moments are wrought by a simple glint of sunlight!

Light has its own special quality at each season of the year… Winter!
Spring!
Summer!
Autumn!

Light is part of the essence of bright water. For those of us whose souls are touched by it, it is part of the essence of our being. In my minds eye the light shimmers and reveals the clues, the magic of Nature and the beauty of the shy trout.

Shimmer…

As I walked upriver yesterday afternoon, the chill of the Delaware’s late November flow made my toes tingle. I was alone on the river I believed, until I spotted the eagle high in the tree beside the landing: another fisher still casting his hopeful gaze upon the water. He remained, even as I reached the car and prepared for the short drive home, and I smiled and wished him well as I departed. Small moments…

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