|Beautiful, but no fish.|
I was just telling a friend at lunch today that most of my "big" fly fishing trips tend to be impacted in one fashion or another by elements beyond my control. And I tend spend the days and weeks leading up to "epic" trips counting my catch before a single fish comes to hand.
Some "for instances":
Last March, I was invited to attend a writer's week at a lodge in the Bahamas. It's a far-flung place that not only requires you to get to Nassau, but then to a tiny little airstrip on at Dead Man's Cay in Long Island. The fishing was supposed to be simply outrageous. The lodge was great. The island was beautiful. But the wind blew and it rained, damn near the whole time. How many bonefish did I catch? Uh, never mind.
A month later, I took a quick trip down to south Texas and the Laguna Madre. The first half of the trip was impacted greatly by brown tide (yes, you can imagine the jokes), and the fishing was slow. The second half of the trip, the wind blew furiously, to the delight of the kite surfers off the coast of the barrier island. We caught some fish, but Mother Nature clearly won.
Later in the year, I had the chance to visit Australia on a conservation tour, followed by some fishing in the tropical north for barramundi. The weather during the tour was stellar. On my four-day trip to the tropics, it rained ... at the peak of the dry season. The take? A few jungle perch and a good, strong tug by something in the salty murk, but no barramundi.
|Lovely view... fishing... not so much.|
I finished off the year by visiting the Alaskan Interior, where I chased grayling on the Delta Clearwater River with an old friend who lives in Eagle River. We floated six miles of the crystal-clear river and saw thousands of fat grayling and big whitefish. It was chilly for September, and it rained a little here and there before the float. Grayling brought to hand? (Deep exhale) Not a single one. I did manage to have a few good days of grayling fishing on the Chena River later in the trip, but my efforts at chasing sheefish and pike above the Arctic Circle were derailed by rain and snow. I'm chalking it up as a good effort, but a loss nonetheless.
Mother Nature 4, Chris 0.
So this year, with a few epic trips on the calendar, I'm determined to board the planes with no
expectations. None whatsoever. As I told my fishing buddy Mike Sepelak the other day, the fishing could be amazing on the East Cape of Baja. But the drinking... well, that shit's gonna be epic. And, as I explained to another fishing friend who's going with me (and Mike) on a junket back to the Bahamas, the bonefishing is rumored to be excellent, but a guy can walk into a liquor store on Long Island and walk out with a bottle of Añejo for eight bucks, and a sixer of Kalik is dirt cheap. And Darlene's conch fritters are to die for.
|Beer and conch fritter. And a happy|
I have no fishy expectations. None. Hear that Mother Nature? You can rain. You can blow. You can rain and blow, for all I care. Until you shut down the distilleries and breweries in the tropics, you can't ruin another trip for me. I'm packing the fly gear, but once I hit the ground, I don't care if I ever unpack a rod... between fish tacos, grouper fingers, rum punch and margaritas, I'm good.
Old Mr. Dickens might be able to talk himself into hoping for the best, but I know better. No expectations. That's my story... and I'm sticking to it.