If you are an experienced hunter for stone arrowheads then you, much like an angler, know generally the kinds of places such things could be found, what conditions are likely to make your hunt more successful, and that there’s a certain amount of hope involved in the enterprise. Just because it looks like the right spot, the conditions are right, and you bring a double armful of experience and knowledge to the table doesn’t mean that you’ll find either trout or arrowheads.
When I pull into a parking spot, when I finally see the stretch of river that speaks to me, I tend to lose my calm. The tailgate opens, my gear tumbles out, and I’m lost in trying to do three things at once, to get my waders on, pack my gear, and string my rod.
The first conversations before rigging up are a spell, something to conjure up a best-case scenario. We want dry fly fishing. We’d accept swinging wets. We’ll nymph if that’s what the day offers, but we won’t go home and brag about it.
I am not a fan of dropping my rod and reel into the water, I can only stumble around on the bank for so long looking for a safe spot to set the rod before it stresses out the fish in my net, I can’t balance the rod across my shoulders like everyone seems to do in their grip-and-grins on Instagram, and I’ve had it slip out from under my arm far too many times.
I’ve never been someone to buy cheap tools. My grandfather had me standing on a four-legged stool next to him as soon as I could be trusted with a screwdriver. I spent years of my life repairing bicycles and using tools and my hands to earn my keep. I know the value of a high-quality tool that you can trust to get the job done. Which is why I’m so damn angry about this pair of scissors.
I’ve decided that this is the year I finally crack the whole carp thing. I’ve done the reading, I’ve looked at the maps, and I am ready to go all in. At least until runoff is over and all of the trout water opens up. But until then, it’s carp for me.
There was the kitchen that never once in my life had the utensils I needed to finish cooking a meal, a laundry room that felt secret and detached from the rest of the house, the horse barn, and the cast iron lawn statuary from decades past. And in the end there was a hospital bed in the living room, the whir of the oxygen tanks, night nurses, and an old man whose hand shook when I held it and couldn't recognize me any longer.