The second of September dawned with the porch thermometer nudging forty-five degrees, and the typical misty skies here amid our cluster of mountain rivers. By breakfast, the day had transformed into another hauntingly gorgeous, bright and wonderful Catskill summer day, but for all that it is not a fishing day. Too many days with too many casts, as I attempted to make more of the fishing than Nature had planned for me this season, have aggravated the arthritis in my neck and plucked at some muscle connecting my shoulder. I know it is time for a rest.

The passionate angler inside fights the realization, though thankfully common sense has triumphed. I have relaxed, done some reading, stretched in my porch chair as the waxing sun warmed my old bones.

I read a bit of Schwiebert, a favorite, waxing poetic about the great bamboo rods and rodmakers. It seems we both found a fascination with an eight-foot Thomas & Thomas Paradigm, his muse casting a number four line, mine a five. I share his elation in describing the abilities of those rods, for they are favorites, matchless wands of power and delight! I would welcome the opportunity to add a four weight to the five and six line rods I cherish today.

Ernest Schwiebert, consummate angler and author, tries a few casts on Pennsylvania’s Big Spring in April of 2003. I was blessed to walk and talk with him for a couple of hours that day and am so much richer for the experience. Sadly, Ernie passed on to angle around the bend in December 2005.

Late summer can be a difficult time to take a break from angling, for the knowledge that the season’s end is fast approaching becomes an unshakeable spectre as the nights cool and the first dappled leaves drift downstream. The long months of winter loom upon the horizon. There are those of us who live for the dry fly season, for the magic of mayflies and wild trout, flamed bamboo and time worn British reels, wood duck and bright hackles. Those passions do not sleep through the six months that the rivers do.

September looks to be a busy month: the Catskill Rodmakers Gathering is but a week away, the following two weekends featuring fly tying gatherings for the Catskill Guild and the Fly Fishing Museum. The rivers should be quiet after Labor Day, though I feel certain it will take the gift of substantial rainfall to offer the solitude and beauty of autumn dry fly fishing that I crave.

My first autumn here I enjoyed some lovely, classic fishing on the big Beaver Kill. October rains had invigorated the river’s flows and the strong breezes on sunny afternoons shook the amber trees and showered the sheltered pools with ants. I found large brown trout sipping in the shadowed places and felt their energy through a lithe, vibrant shaft of split bamboo! I have looked for those afternoons since, as their ghosts haunt my dreams when the leaves turn, but my quests have failed since that first full season. Nature is fleeting, constantly changing and presenting new puzzles for the angler to solve, but I would love to revisit those experiences!

Golden Memories

The afternoon slips away, and I am lost in memories such as these, reliving many glorious moments on rivers and streams, alone and in gracious company. I have missed such company this season. Faraway friends have not visited with the difficult conditions, and my chief local compatriot has battled issues that have kept him from the water. At this time of life, it is not so easy to brush things off with a wry “it will be better next year,” for I know that each season is a gift, and we grateful recipients dare not count ahead.

Rest is good, well earned and necessary, and I do not count it as a loss of opportunity. It is a time for an appreciation of all that is good in this life.


One thought on “Rest

  1. Mark , I look forward to seeing you at the gathering! Munsey and I may be up by you early this week, I’ll call you if we are.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s