It’s odd, but as we set our sights on a new year, memories often flood to the surface.
And I’ve found that the memory of each successive outing and experience is savored a bit more than the last.
The fly-fishing life is often one of preparation and expectation.
In my experience, this time of year — winter — is for both reminiscing and getting ready for more fly-fishing.
Some of us fly fishers can wet a line during the winter, but for most, it is a time of settling into one’s own groove.
You can go to your local fly shop, drink some coffee or a beer, tell stories and listen to them as well.
Stories are a great part of the fly-fishing life — and as important as their actual creation.
As you gain experience and experiences, you often find that the stories you tell, and live, are reflected back to you through other anglers’ experiences.
My mind often drifts to rushing, cold and loud canyon water.
I’m wet-wading and fishing a size 12 Stimulator dry fly.
It’s soon after the summer’s high runoff, and the air temp is in the low 80s.
Not a cloud is in the big, open, beautiful blue sky.
The water is clear, not quite frigid, and it makes you feel. . .alive.
I have only 5 to 10 feet of fly line out of my fly rod, and connected to that line is a 9-foot leader and about a foot of tippet.
It’s easy to pick up and put down, directly controlling each cast to what appears to be a “fishy” spot of water.
The end of my leader tapers to 4X — steady, strong, yet pliable enough to get that few-second drift you need when fishing pocket water in the seemingly endless pools, big and small.
That water paints the picture and fills the senses in the dropping, stair-step canyon environment you occupy.
There is that little bit of drift for your dry fly, that seemingly slow piece of time when you are so focused on your fly — then suddenly, from what always seems to be out of nowhere, a trout lightning bolts up from under the water and engulfs your fly.
It is incredibly fun and exciting.
You quickly bring the trout to hand and then release it.
That beautiful creature swims back into its own wilderness — a silent bullet train whose escape to freedom is magnified by the sound of cascading water and wind blowing through the evergreens and willows that surround you.
That’s a place I look forward to feeling in the new year.
Maybe I will see you on the water.