To make sure I didn’t repeat myself for this column, I read last year’s Christmas column. As I read, I did find that I had made a prediction that came true. I predicted that 2016 would be a year of “Plain ole, ordinary, political stupidness.” I promise not to make any more predictions.
As life is finite, and being only a year and a half away from leaving the comfort of life as a sexagenarian and becoming a septuagenarian, what should I ask for for Christmas?
Since I already own just about everything one can buy at a fly shop, asking for a new piece of equipment seemed pretty shallow. Plus, if I suddenly discover I need something, I’ll just use my frequent fly-shop-buyer points to buy it. So, what will I do while everyone else is unwrapping their gifts? I’ve decided that as each gift is unwrapped, I am going to give myself a mental gift.
To start with, I am giving myself the gift of lots more casts. I hate reading where someone has made their final cast. I’m not looking for the last cast; I want lots more of them. Of course, to make many more casts, I will have to spend many more days fly fishing. I want those days to be done on fly fishing trips that take several days. They don’t need to be to far-off exotic places but can be easily accomplished in locations no more than a day’s drive from home. These types of trips will be easy on my body and bank account.
While on these excursions, I promise myself not to be overly concerned with the technicalities of casting. I have spent way too much time analyzing my cast. It is what it is. That means when my loops are large enough to drive a truck through, so be it. It takes too much energy to fuss at myself and lose the reason I am on the water. The fish aren’t scoring my casts. I’ll get the fly where it needs to be. It may not be pretty, but it works.
Another part of my cast that I will stop beating myself up about is the left-breaking delivery of my fly. When I’m just enjoying the day, not concentrating on the cast, maybe a little distracted with everything around me, my fly will break left just before it touches the water. If I were a major league pitcher, that breaking cast would be worth millions. That’s what I’ll keep telling myself.
For 2017, I am going to use slower and softer rods – might have to go buy a new one. I’ll do this to remind myself to slow down, don’t be in a hurry, enjoy being on the water. And while on the water, I will expand my horizons. I will, from time to time, use a nymph. I still won’t use a bobber, but maybe I’ll tie on a big dry fly that will also work as an indicator.
Since I am not going to be in a hurry, I’ll give my fishing partner an extra 15-minutes on the casting platform. Or maybe I’ll just sit on a rock beside a river, enjoy my cigar and think about a good adult beverage for the end of the day. Then, when I have refreshed my spirit, mind and body, I’ll show all the young whippersnappers on the water who is the best fly fisherman they have seen.
It’s my hope that by moving slower, enjoying the moment, and being more aware of all the beauty of fly fishing that my final fly fishing trip will be a long time in coming.
My gift for fly fishing in 2017 is doable. I also hope that when political discussions heat up all participants will take the afternoon off and go fly fishing. It’s good for what ails the soul. So, in closing, I want to use my annual politically incorrect statement. I only make one a year.
I wish everyone Feliz Navidad, Happy Hanukkah, a good Eid al-Adha, and of course Merry Christmas. If none of these fits your beliefs, then may whatever touches your heart with hope be with you all of 2017.
Reach Don Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.