I know I know - long overdue. For that matter, so was spring. It finally arrived, and so did the steelhead. At least, a few of them...
Those who've followed for a while know that I'm all about lessons learned from time on the water. In my ongoing ZenQuest, one aspect of being on the water I've come to appreciate more is fully accepting the cards your dealt, setting aside a longing for "more" or "better." I began adopting this approach to the change in seasons years ago, but have struggled with it during individual fishing episodes. I'd pace around at work all day watching my phone, waiting and wishing for perfect flows and perfect timing on the perfect river. Fretting over rain or a lack of it, calculating drive times and wake up calls and sunrise times to be in the perfect run at the perfect moment. And when it didn't work out perfectly, as it rarely does, I couldn't help but feel a tinge of disappointment.
As cliche as it sounds, this long-awaited spring has helped me appreciate the nuances of river life that are easily overlooked when cruising at speed down I-90 in the dark, searching for the perfect conditions. Setting aside last year's notes and preconceptions seems to add a little surprise to the otherwise average outing. Like all other facets of life, applying this ideology is a work in progress, but it's helped me better appreciate my days on the water this spring.
A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a long weekend in South Florida for a family wedding. Naturally I managed to mix in a day on the water and, as if to test my "Que sera, sera" theory, the wind blew 20 MPH for 8 hours and the tarpon were nowhere to be found. Chock it up to karma - it didn't damper an otherwise great weekend and our last get-away before the anticipated arrival of our little one, which also seems a long time comin' (especially if you ask my wife).
I'll be spending next week up on the West Branch of the Delaware for which I am currently tempering my excitement. In the meantime, the Lampros garage received the annual overhaul this week - steelhead rods were tubed, reels cleaned. New Warm-water sticks have been acquired, and old ones are rigged and racked. The menagerie of fly boxes, extra layers and empty beer cans that had filled my pack to capacity over the last few months have been cleaned and stored. Waders are hung, wading sandals pulled from the closet. Boat is cleaned, axles are greased. Flies are tied. Plans are being made, floats are being hashed out. We're sticking with a theme of "change" this year - it's been a long time comin'.