Flurries and Fixations

Taking my river walk just now my thoughts were all of fishing. With flurries in the air and the daily temperatures hovering near freezing it seems like the bowels of winter, and that taxes my spirit of the endurance required to navigate five fishless months.

The river seemed dark and brooding, though the water has cleared from past rainfall. With no sun to illuminate it’s bottom, there is no hint of the life within. The Delaware tailwaters continue to carry high flows, and I wonder if the City will be generous throughout the long months of winter. Hurricane season ends today, and it would seem reasonable now to reduce the dam releases and draw down the reservoirs gradually, to maintain a steady flow sufficient to allow the river life to flourish. Some fellow veterans of the Catskill rivers are looking to this watershed year to fulfill the promise of a wonderful season in 2022. May it be so!

With the feel of winter in the air, my thoughts are drawn to spring. I should take advantage of this time and begin the chores of winter: polishing rods, oiling reels, and sorting fly boxes so I might chart the course of the heavy burst of fly tying that will soothe me through the long absence from bright water.

My 100-Year Dun, tied for the Quill Gordon, awaits that first hatch of springtime. I’ll tie more of them, in fourteens and sixteens before those chilly, blustery afternoons in April cause my pulse to quicken.

Looking back at the season just completed stirs the excitement I always feel when thinking of the Hendrickson hatch. It was truly the hatch of 2021 along the rivers of my heart and I dare to hope for another thrilling display when the April sunshine warms the rivers once again. There are many patterns I experimented with that proved essential this year, and I must ensure there are plenty snugged into my boxes for the season ahead.

Soon I must visit my friend Dennis and bring a rod or two in need of his talents, that they may be ready for the spring campaign. Wear and tear happens, even with the most cherished bamboo, and small things must be attended to lest they become more significant.

I’ve given up returning a certain pair of leaking waders, since the original pair and two replacements proved insufficient to keep me dry for a single season. Luckily there is a pair purchased last winter I can rely upon, and another passing a decade of use that still manages to keep the river on the outside.

I’m hoping that the monthly meetings will continue for the Fly Tyers Guild, as they provide a touch of socializing as we share ideas for fish catching flies. I appreciate these little gatherings, as I no longer attend the winter fishing shows.

I have already begun my winter reading, thankful that I have added a handful of volumes to my collection. They will provide some new thoughts and remembrances on the days I am not reading one of the classics again.

Beyond cleaning my reels, I know there is an empty spool for one of my old Perfects that must be fitted with backing and a proper line. Acquired as summer waned, it has languished until now. I am thinking it should carry a four weight line, but which one?

There is much to do, and all of it contrived to keep some part of me connected to bright water. The rivers are my sustenance, and I cannot get enough of them without wading amid the gravel and the rocks. Perhaps December will usher in a more seasonable run of days, forties as opposed to thirties would encourage some late autumn outings, and the chance to wade and swing a fly. Ah what I would give just to see the sun!

One thought on “Flurries and Fixations

  1. Good morning Mark, I’ve just finished reading Mitch Keller’s “ The East Branch” . It’s a truly enjoyable read, it’s not a typical “ how to” type book. It’s also not a book about the joy of using cane . Rather, it’s just a mans thoughts on his life near a Trout stream. I will send you my copy if you want.
    PS have you gotten your booster yet? I got mine several weeks ago without incident.


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