Birthday Brook

Sub-title: Sometimes size doesn't matter

I recently had a birthday and let me first start by saying due to my gigantic ego you don't need to know which one! What is more important is the significance of birthdays as a fly fisherman. In the course of your life there are milestones tied to a birthday, the common ones we all know, your first birthday, the eighteenth, the twenty first, the thirtieth and the dreaded four oh my God birthday! These sometimes dovetail with fishing; youíre first fish, your first trout, the first time you went out on a boat by yourself and did not sink it, all products of a memory you will never forget. My moment last week happened to fall on a work day; the day before seeing the projected tail water release for the next day I knew there was no way to get a line wet after work on my birthday. Using the logic of a fisherman, I decided I would get up even earlier than my usual work week time and hit the water. I knew I would try to talk my way out of it the moment the alarm went off but swore I would fight thru it and go. I readied my gear that night, to minimize any delay, waders and boots laid out, rod loaded and placed in the car, coffeemaker ready for the on switch in the morning.

The alarm went off and after confirming to myself this made perfect sense to fish for one hour, race home, take a shower, and haul butt to work, I blasted off with waders and boots on and coffee sloshing. If you are like me and fish after work, weekends and vacation time mainly, itís always strange to hit the parking area and see only one car there, but I still had the edge because I was in my waders and boots while the other guy was still dressing beside his truck. Now being first in the water makes no difference to the fish but only fueled my previously mentioned gigantic ego, first in the water! I was already a winner and the sun had not even come up!

The mist was still on the water and visibility was low as the sun peeked thru, I was not quite like a kid playing hooky, but at least a kid who was going to be one hour late to work, it was perfect. I hit one of my go to spots encouraged by the sign of one my reliable friends the heron, working the river 50 yards away. If it's good enough for him than I should be fine, as fly fisherman know those birds usually eat at the best restaurants on the river. I had tied on a fly the night before a fellow member of TU had given me, and let it sail. First cast just to get it wet and armed, second cast fine tuning the yardage, third cast and there was the undeniable headshake of a strike. I reeled in a beautiful little brook my favorite fish, always good for a tussle as if they are surprised and mad at themselves for falling for a fly tied by a lowly human!

After a quick photo and release he was free to contemplate how that could have happened to him and reason why he will never let it happen again. I possessing little reason and even less common sense kept fishing. A smart man would have quit then and headed on to work but there wasn't one in sight, so I kept fishing as the remainder of the hour ticked on. It was the perfect start to a new day and the best present I could have given to myself even though I had to keep it to myself.

I have a policy of fishing on New Year's Day no matter what the weather even if it's just for a few moments. Utilizing the misguided logic of a fisherman, I firmly believe that if I start the New Year with a line in the water it will bring me the good fishing karma I need for the rest of the year.

If there is a moral to this story, I guess it's do not let that special day, no matter what it is slip away, whether it's your birthday, your child's or friend's, do not fall for the trap of it's too far, it's too hard, it's too early, or all the other excuses we use to keep us separated from those times and experiences that life offers up on occasion. The job will be there Monday morning, the house payment is always due every thirty days, the water heater is always going to break, but those special days and times are the foundations for a house of memories. Tight Lines Forever!