Time, Money, and Fly Fishing by Mark Usyk
Two weeks. It’d been two weeks since I’d been fishing. Two weeks is a long time for someone that sometimes fishes every day. Painful. Agonizing. The last time I’d been out was the final float of the year on JP’s flat bottom boat with him and his wife Bobbi Jo, a short outing on Lake Delta. We skimmed water sometimes only inches deep, possible only because of the jet drive. It may not make the power a prop does, but it gains you clearance enough to keep cruising on without lifting the motor from the water in super shallow conditions. As we cruised out to super skinny water I saw the look of horror on a kayaker’s face as he was certain we were going to come to a grinding halt, bodies flying through the air like rag dolls. We only had to raise the motor out and push pole ahead with the sound of scraping rocks below our feet once. Back into deeper water we cast to rolling Carp and searched for signs of life along weed beds. We trailered the boat one last time for 2015 without hooking a single fish, but it could have been much worse…Some people were working you know.
Two weeks. Since that day two weeks had gone by and I found my daily life too hectic to get on any water. Pretty depressing seeing as I can walk to the creek out back in about 2 minutes. I had no idea why I couldn’t make it work, but I remember thinking the first week “I’ll make up for it next week.” Then the next week saw contractors tearing the electric base board heat out of our house and racing to replace it with a new hot water system before winter weather showed it’s ugly face any day now. I stuck around the house, staying out of the way in my tying and writing room, switching back and forth between the two activities, breaking them up now and then with a YouTube video selection of someone in a warm and tropical place casting flies to exotic salt water scales. All the while the thought of the irony, how installing this new heating system was going to save money in the long run yet it would be sucking money out of the bank account now that couldn’t be spent on fishing related wants and needs. I told myself I needed a spare spool for my Galvan reel on the 7wt, a sink tip line to go on that spool, and a new pair of waders that I wouldn’t need until spring but felt the need to buy now.
I think most die-hard fisherman when it comes down to it would be content to live off of Ramen Noodles and grilled cheese sandwiches if it meant the bulk of their paycheck could go to fishing necessities. Necessities of course are anything from new rods and reels all the way down to a deck of playing cards with Trout on them and anything in between. It can be a little vague sometimes as to what’s really necessary in the mind of a fly fishing fanatic. But Being a fanatic has it’s advantages to be sure. Aside from unlocking the secret to life, some people look at you like you might be a little crazy, a little out in left field. Which is fine. They tend to look at you a little differently than others, to not take you very seriously, which can definitely be your saving grace. Being undependable and less than “stable” can save you a lot of grief. People tend to expect less.
Towards the end of the second week I was finding myself sitting on the couch in my room at 9am cradling a fly rod and replacing my coffee mug with a beer bottle, the lack of fishing and absence of any new fishing related purchases was obviously beginning to affect me. On Thursday morning I found myself standing at the kitchen sink washing a cereal bowl that I had just removed from the top rack of the dishwasher. The appliance had once again failed at it’s only task, to provide clean dishes. I shook my head in disgust as I scrubbed at the small specks of macaroni and cheese residue, staring out the window as Holly’s conversation with me turned from the need to buy the boys some new clothes to the need to buy a new dishwasher. My head shook in disgust partially because I had a clear view through the now naked trees of Fall out back to the creek flowing so close that you could hear it. But also partially because I was washing a bowl that had just been washed, and partially because the conversation had gone from talking about buying clothes for the boys to buying a new dishwasher, while the new heating system that would take the next fifteen years to pay off was being installed all around us. “Well, I don’t think we need to spend more than $400 to get what I really want” were the last words out of her mouth. I sighed, closed my eyes and tilted my head back. “Fine” I said. “Let’s just spend ALL of our money on stuff that has NOTHING to do with fishing.” I heard one of the heating guys chuckle in the living room as a beer called my name from the bottom drawer of the fridge.