Having a small black lab puppy sitting in the space where my fishing gear usually resides makes that space look a whole lot bigger than it does during the season. It also seems more lonely despite puppy exuberance.
Two months ago I took all my fishing gear out of the back of the Volvo wagon (yes, I live in Connecticut, the native range of the Volvo) and stacked it in the garage. The primary reason was knee surgery which I knew would take me off the water for a while. The fact that it was five degrees outside didn't hurt either. And then this new puppy needed to go somewhere on the ride to the vet.
Most anglers enjoy a good fly fishing film festival during the winter. The films energize us for the upcoming spring when rivers thaw and fishing improves. Watching world class anglers from near and far bringing in beautiful fish keeps our winter cabin fever at bay while we dream of things to come.
Every once and a while, a fishing film comes along that moves us in other ways. Whether focused on the arena of conservation or on relating a heartfelt story, these are films that are about more than just fishing. Silo4's A Deliberate Life, which is now available for the first time in its full-length version, is a fishing film that touched me in ways other films never have.
All anglers know that we can get by storing and carrying our flies in all manner of decidedly un-fancy receptacles. The various plastic containers that come free with your selection of flies from the bins at the shop, old film canisters, an Altoids tin (with a stick-on magnet if you really want to get serious), Plano boxes and so on are all perfectly viable and decidedly inexpensive ways to tote flies to and from the stream. But we almost all opt for something more.
For the most part, this is because better fly boxes make our days on the stream more efficient, more pleasant. We can organize better, protect our flies from the elements, more easily access and find the flies we want. And so we're happy to pay a premium for a better box. It's probably safe to say that most anglers have paid upwards of $25 for a fly box at some point in their angling careers and many more have likely spent upwards of $40 or even $50. But what about $125? What do you get for that?
If you're compulsive about filling out March Madness brackets and a fisherman, Cheeky Fly Fishing may have mixed up your all time favorite cocktail. Cheeky's fifth annual March Madness: Road to the Final Fish pits 64 different species of fish against each other in a college hoops-style bracket and gives entrants a chance predict which fish will end up in the sweet sixteen, elite 8, final four and so on down to the "final fish." As in past year, Cheeky will donate all proceeds from the event to benefit The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust and Casting for Recovery.
Up for grabs for the entrants with the best brackets is a horde of prizes from the likes of Patagonia, Sage, Fishpond, YETI, Post Fly, Kast, Loon Outdoors, Montana Fly Company, Kast, ARC, a whole host more and, of course, Cheeky Fly Fishing. Prizes range from big things like rods and reels to smaller items like boxes of flies and apparel.
Laying about in in the depths of a hundred and one fever I have the leisure of considering all manner of things. In and out of the void topics both meaningful and mundane surge and recede. Did I reply to that email? I wonder if the ice dams on the roof will be a problem? How long before the streams flow free again?
Unlike much of the west, our eastern winter has been wet and frigid. Four foot drifts guard the banks of the driveway. The stop sign at the end of the street has been consumed by the plow's drift. It's increasingly difficult to find places to put the new snow which arrives, a few inches at a time, every other day or so.
While I still whine about the weather, mutterings about the weight of the season are so common as to be meaningless. So much has already said about the endless cold days that there are few words worth listening to. I do it as much out of habit as anything else.