Unbeknownst to many, I actually have a life outside of fishing. While thoughts of getting on the water sneak into my head dozens of times each day, sometimes I need and want to focus on other activities. As the peak of fishing season begins, my schedule continues to get busier and busier. Luckily, I enjoy my life, and wouldn’t trade it in for anything else.
As I’ve read the thought-provoking novel The River Why, I have come to realize a pressing point: if we devote our entire lives to our one greatest passion, we will no doubt tire of it within a short period of time. Gus, the protagonist, is deeply in love with angling. In order to fulfill his desire for time on the water, he moves to a famous steelhead river and creates the “ideal schedule,” one that limits all activities outside of fishing. Eating and sleeping are kept to a minimum, and the rest of his time is spent casting for the chromers and greenbacks. Quickly, Gus exhausts his drive, and after a couple series of events that change his mindset, he takes a step back from fishing for a while.
Obviously, that example is a little extreme. I don’t have any plans to become a hermit and limit all my actions to one hobby. Still, I occasionally find myself trying to squeeze every last ounce of fishing time into a day. I’m not saying spending as much time as possible fishing is a bad thing; my point is that when fishing interferes with your daily life, you’ve probably taken it a little too far. If we spent every waking moment doing what we loved, we would no longer enjoy it anymore because it would cease to be a rare, cherishable occurrence.
As a few of you noticed, I didn’t publish a post last week, mainly because I did no fishing (gasp!), and was on a camp out when I would typically write it. Now that I am back in the swing of things, I have found a decent amount of success on some of my local stocked trout streams.
I began the week with two trips to the Ipswich River, which had just been stocked again, this time with brown and brook trout. The spot I typically fish is quite difficult to fly fish in, being a large, deep pool with many conflicting currents and few casting angles. I opted to bring my spinning rod, but having lost many of my trout lures at this area the last time I was there, I had to make due with what I had. I started with a mini crankbait, but quickly switched to a ned rig just for the heck of it. To my utter astonishment, it didn’t take long before I was hooked up with an average-sized brown, and two more brookies soon after. The guys on the bridge upstream of where I was fishing began to grumble whenever I hooked another fish, and I just laughed along with them.
My second trip to the Ipswich was more of the same, although I did have a few short strikes on my fly rod. These hits would come at the last second as I was stripping the streamer back in after a swing. It was cool because I could watch the trout dart out from the undercut bank, swipe at the flies, then return to its resting place. Despite having more time this day, I only ended up landing two fish, a brookie and a brown. This probably wasn’t aided by the fact that there were bait fishers on the opposite bank casting literally all the way across the river to just in front of where I was standing. I suppose they were following the age-old theory that there are always more fish wherever you are not.
Finally, to round off the week, I made a trip to my most visited yet most hated spot on the Shawsheen River. With a short time window, I aimed to cover as much water as possible with my two fly-fishing setups: a 7-weight streamer stick with a sink-tip line, and a euro-nymphing rig comprised of a frenchie on point and squirmy worm on the dropper.
The first fish came on the streamer rod in a pool that screamed to be dredged with a big bug. Of course it was a ‘bow, because why wouldn’t I catch one after not catching a single rainbow at this spot all season, not to mention after just being stocked with browns and brookies? Sometimes logic simply doesn’t apply.
The second fish, nearly identical to the first, came on the dropper on my 10′ 3-weight. Again, I was amazed that I was now catching the rainbows. Still, I wasn’t complaining, and I felt very lucky to have fit in some fishing time between my mind-boggling schedule.
While I was fishing one of these days, I heard a fellow mention that he thought the trout always bit better in the early mornings and late evenings. He wished he could be out there at those hours, but he said he just didn’t have the time. Feeling the same way he did, I replied that the time you are able to get on the water is when the fish will bite best for you. As the old saying goes, “you can’t catch a fish if you line’s not in the water”. Even though modern schedules may not have fishing time built in, remember that any time is a good time for fishing if you make it so.