thee streamside companion & angler's frequent respite

treatise, pomes, fine etchings & lyrics re. and not re. flyfishing (with an angle)

Thursday, June 03, 2004

winter is over. this post is older.

besides actually *getting there* there has to be some reason that it takes a coupla hours to get to your fishing spot. the more time i spend driving to fishing, the less and less it bugs me. it can be some fairly quality time. there is music to be listened to; conversations to be had, birds and landscape and weather to wonder over. and there's also a lot of nothing. a nothing that's easily chewed, easily consumed. a nothing that, if a taste is acquired, can be quite filling. random thoughts: what's the nature of obsession? did i pack the lamb sausage? will the red wing's defense be enough to offset the loss of sergi federov? am i getting old? what's old? well, guess it depends on what the subject is. **** the subject and **** the notion of age. i don't buy it. resolved: we will not buy into the consensus reality regarding age and ability. we set our own course. yeah, but hank williams died at 23! was the success of the green rockworm just a fluke last week? did i pack the tieing kit? i'd love a dog, but i don't want him to chew up my stuff. what's that buzzing sound? jezus, i don't even remember the last time i changed a flat tire. hank williams? where's my CD case. hank williams... did he fish? how could a guy that fucked up, freaked out and depressed sound so chipper? "The fish they ain't a bitin' the creeks are all dry...." He sang that like it was the beginning of an eternity of saturday mornings....i appears the swallows have all left for parts south. can't blame them...23 years old. what did he see? 23 is young and dumb. in his case, 23 is old and wasted. 23 was a death year. 23? where was I? i was on the make... what is that fucking buzzing?

Enough of this robust empty time and bingo-bango your at cle elum buying beer, smokes and a block of ice. i rolled into umptanum after dark on friday night. the hunters buying jerky and hot dogs and beer in cans in cle elum where also at umptanum. most were on the down low, trying to find the sweet spot between anticipatory glee and the brutal reality of a 4am wake up. i opened a beer and had the tent up in minutes. i ate chicken and read a novel. i felt the cold and finally, the moon rose. it was fat and full and glided up and over the canyon. a train came. hank williams, jr.: all my rowdy friends are comin' over tonight. hank senior spins.

i drank a coupla more beers, smoked a coupla cigarettes and did nothing. just standing in the dark. it was beautiful. i let all that nothing just be and sat on the side of it like an angler sits upon the bank. no talking, no punchlines, no commercials.

up early. into coffee. geared up. into waders. vlad has arrived with dog fat and dog skinny. spaghetti and meatballs. vlad: overcast. could be a good 'un for blue winged olives. me: uh-huh.

i can't say where we ended up, but there we were. i started out with that rockworm as the dropper to a light nymph rig. immediate success. 2-3-4 time to stop counting. but still, i told myself that it was indeed a fact that i would loose the rockworm. it was also a fact that i had no more. i dealt with the loss before it happened. sorta like buying a cemetary plot before one croaks. i was in touch with the loss... i got up on the tracks and moved downstream. vlad was casting directly below me, throwing fine, tight loops and landing whatever it was whereever it was supposed to be. one could get hypnotized, best to move down quickly and hope the SOB hasn't vacumed up the entire run.

more nymphing, more fish and suddenly loss. the rockworm was gone. ripped from its tether by a "small whitefish". i was prepared and decided to just get on with it and move to a dry rig. i pondered the bwo box for what seemed like hours. finally, a coupla nice lookin' lil' guys were strapped in and ready for action. bon chance, my friends! bon chance!

i don't know how a river turns on, what it's like to be living in the stream when it just goes electric, but i'm quite sure every trout in the river was scurrying underfoot, finishing up this and that in order to get to the kitchen as soon as possible. the dinner bell was ringing -- hell, the dinner bell was being pounded by the spastic, deaf and starving. within minutes BWOs were everywhere and trout were following them. popping, rolling, boiling. hank williams: "go get yer fishin' pooooooole..." i laughed out loud and began to catch fish. on it went -- noon, one, two, three, four p.m and i'd barely moved 200 yards. it was ridiculous. near the end, the trouts bellies were distended. in their torpor, it seemed they could barely levitate to the surface to suck down more flies. they floated up like fat men to the buffet and reluctantly grabbed just one more chicken wing... ok, one more... ok, one more.... no, really, this is my last one....

the fishing was so good that i had no thoughts. more delicious nothingness wrapped around frenetic activity. perfect. a zone. a painting. maybe i am getting old. my back was hurting. my gawdam ankle was killing me. i was hungry. i was tired from catching fish. my arms were wet. my left foot was filled with water. i climbed up to the tracks and saw vlad immediately. i am walking back to camp, i told him. and again, it stood before me -- 20 more minutes of that beautiful nothing. i may have hummed a hank williams tune on the way back in and i certainly saw the sheep in the cliffs, but that was it. that was all of it....



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