Fishing well (and smashing superstitions)

For those who know me, fishing for trout is a passion that I try to squeeze in between the other details of life.

More often than not, those other details simply take precedent.  That's OK.  It seems to me that if I got to fish as often as I want to, then the fishing wouldn't be as good as it is when I have to wait for it.  And every once in a while, a window of opportunity opens up for me to venture a little further out than usual.

Occasionally, when this happens, I find myself paralyzed by the number of choices of places to fish (Yes, I am keenly aware that this is a good problem to have).  I want to go out and fish in different places, yet I have favorites that are too far away to get to on a regular basis.  With rare opportunities to spend an entire day, I am careful not to squander my time.

So last night as I was surfing Google Maps and the Wisconsin trout stream maps: I promptly turned my computer off and went to bed...undecided.  In a departure from my usual grand delusions and inflated sense of urgency, I let this one sort of "come as it may".

At 0500 this morning when my eyes popped open and the birds seemed to be at full volume, I made for the (already packed) truck.  With eyes not quite focused yet, I punched up a little outlaw country on my MP3 and hit the road heading west.  Still undecided.  A quick stop for an Egg McMuffin (with sausage...of course...) and coffee, and the fog began to clear.  By the time I had gotten to the westward point that would require a decision on which creek to fish-it was clear to me how the day would play out.

Big Spring Creek.  Familiar water, but a favorite of mine, and a damn fine trout stream.

Turned out to be a pretty good decision.  I was on the water by 0700 and enjoying the fact that I was quite alone in a gorgeous valley.  Well, except for the bald eagle that managed to find a perch to watch me from several vantage points around the valley.  I didn't mind the audience, Bald Eagles are good company and the fact that I was the best entertainment the eagle had led me to believe that no one else was stirring.  Just the way I like it.

My unusually casual approach to choosing a destination carried over to my fishing.  I was relaxed and confident that even if I fished poorly, at least I was alone on water that may as well be on a different planet than the stresses that have been vexing me lately.

Once I settled in and got my swerve on, the fishing was nothing less than stellar and I have returned a better man than the one who left this morning.

Fishing really is nothing short of therapy.

Here are a few pics from the day.  Enjoy.

As an aside to all of this, I also managed to shed a couple of superstitions.  (1) I carried a net and it wasn't bad luck (2) I fished (and broke another superstition) with my 4 wt St. Croix rod which has also seen enough fishless trips to warrant careful consideration before use... and finally (3) I wore a brand new fishing shirt (also a generally unheard of practice).  Given the day's success, I might never wash the shirt.

Well....we'll see how that plays out....

Til later,


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