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As I mentioned in my last post, I had planned to fish today but due to life's complications had to grab some time on the lake yesterday instead. The prime mover--or un-mover--in those complications is a dead truck, resulting in an entire family needing to use our one remaining vehicle. But whining about trucks is a subject for another post.
Yesterday was cold and extremely windy, and I speculated that today, when I'm stuck at home, would turn out to be a beautiful day for fishing. Well, right now it's partly cloudy and 74 degrees. And no wind.
What makes it worse is that a friend came over this morning and we put a new starter in the truck. All that time I was making plans to go to the lake after all. But the truck wouldn't start even with a new starter. So hopes rise to be dashed yet again.
And what makes it even worse is that I checked my old blog and discovered that last year on my first trip to the lake--April 28--I caught four very nice fish. Probably it was late afternoon or evening when they took a nymph suspended under an indicator, and so far, in two trips to the lake, the latest I was able to stay was 2:30.
So I feel whiny. It occurs to me that whining about the weather is a grand tradition of fishing. We whine when we're on the water and the weather is too cold, or too hot, or too windy. And we whine when we can't be on the water and the weather is perfect. It's as if the weather gods--or, worse, God--had it in for us personally.
But maybe we have a right to whine about weather sometimes, because for the vast majority of the time we revel in it. The weather is the arena of our pursuit, and we take joy in being out there in the middle of it, and we take pride in surviving and overcoming the worst it can dish out. When I debated whether the water at the lake would be too cold for a float tube this early I quickly flashed on scenes of myself up to my waist in the icy river this past winter. It was a quick decision to take the float tube, because, of course, I've been through much worse.
Some of the best experiences of my fishing life have involved scorching heat, violent thunderstorms, hail, gale force winds, extreme cold, even snow storms.
I've sheltered from thunder and lightning and wind under a canoe hastily tipped over on a wooded shore, listening to small branches clattering onto it. I've driven up over a rise into the teeth of a thunderstorm and had a wind shear rip a canoe, straps and all, off the roof, and watched it in the rearview mirror sail fifty yards into a cow pasture. (It was an old, cheap, unreliable canoe; I donated it to the cows.) I've slept in my car when the temperature outside was below zero to get a shot at steelhead water in the morning. I've sat in the rocking float tube jammed up in the shoreline willows and held my hands under my armpits to protct them from hail that churned the lake, ripped leaves off the trees, and stung my head through my hat. I've fished all night in midwestern heat and humidity that had me sweating at 3 Am, casting soft hackles by memory and releasing fish by feel in the dark. I've dumped buckets of rain water out of the canoe after fishing all day in a steady downpour, much of which went down my neck before collecting on the deck of the canoe. I've gone half nuts trying to cast to a steady bank riser on the Henry's Fork while a stiff wind blew without ceasing right in my face.
And I loved it. I might have whined at the time, but after--immediately after and for all time--I loved it. I loved it because I was there. I was in the middle of some of the earth's most spectacular weather, on purpose, while most people were holed up inside.
Not only that, it didn't stop me from fishing, and even catching fish.
One of the best things about this sport is that nobody will ever be able to put a dome over it. If someone did we'd whine about it until they took it down, or we'd blow it up ourselves. So we could get back to the important whining: about the weather.