Editor's note: Our Mike Sepelak has made an annual tradition of sharing on his always entertaining and well-read blog, Mike's Gone Fishin', his home waters version of Clement Clarke Moore's famous poem, which Mike calls as "awful as Grandma's fruitcake and Uncle John's reindeer tie." This year, Mike's has offered to pass on his holiday habit of "squeez[ing] in a holiday post without having to actually work for it" to us, and we're inclined to accept, awfulness and all.
Not a fish was arisin', the weather was raw.
The water was frigid and brisk was the air,
Too chilly for fishin', but I didn’t care.
The browns were all nestled down deep in their pools
While rainbows and brookies were nobody’s fools.
And I in my waders and old fishing cap,
As usual, just couldn’t cast worth a crap.
When further upstream there arose such a crash,
I started, and slipped, and sat down with a splash.
My glasses went this way, my rod, it went that.
You know you’re in deep when you’ve floated your hat.
The gleam of the sun on the river around
Was lovely, but hell, I was going to drown!
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a funky old kayak. (The end must be near.)
With a little old paddler, too fat for the boat,
Who was trying his best just to keep it afloat.
Through the rapids he teetered, bounced off every big rock.
The dude’s in big trouble, I thought with a shock.
But as he arrived at my favorite hole
He snapped it in place with a neat barrel roll
And glided in softly, as smooth as can be.
No fish would be spooked, except maybe me.
And then in a twinkling he popped out of his craft
Like a cork from a bottle, I shouldn’t have laughed.
He reached back inside and he slowly withdrew
A lovely old 4wt of shiny bamboo.
He was dressed all in Gore-Tex and looked straight from the pages
Of catalogs like Orvis’, Hardy’s and Sage’s.
A vest full of goodies encircled his frame
With gadgets and zingers, too many to name.
He spoke not a word but went straight to his fun,
Throwing laser-like casts, seeming straight from a gun.
His roll casts were graceful, his loops were so tight.
Presentations were flawless, each drift was just right.
He threw pheasants and hare's ears and woolies and strymphs,
Hoppers with droppers of copper john nymphs.
He had all of fly fishing's mysteries debunked,
But darned if old Santa Claus didn’t get skunked.
I felt sort of bad for the jolly old elf.
But why fish the Haw, I was asking myself.
He could have fished Battenkill, Madison, Snake.
It seemed that the Haw was a foolish mistake.
I needn’t have worried, I had nothing to dread,
For he gave me a wink and here’s what he said.
“We all should remember, and here’s what I’m wishin',
That it’s not about fish, but it’s all about fishin'.”
He sprang to his 'yak, to the rocks gave a push,
And shot down the stream with a splash and a woosh.
But I heard him exclaim as he drifted from sight
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all keep lines tight.”