For those of you who know me, you know I truly hate bugs with every fiber of my being. The little “zzzzzzzzzz” in my ears, the feeling of tiny little things bouncing off my face or crawling in my hair…Ugh. I can’t stand it.
But I have this cousin here. His name is Carl. And he’s a trout fishing freak. OK, maybe the word freak has too many negative connotations. But he’s been doing it since he was a kid, opening and closing day of fishing season are high holy days for him and he’s pretty much absent from the social scene in the summer, juggling his time between cycling, work and fishing. So of course he suggested that his cousin from Brooklyn go fishing with him. And not just any fishing. Trout fishing. And not just ANY trout fishing. Trout NIGHT fishing.
I’m like, me. At night. Near a pond. With bugs. And critters. Dude. Seriously.
I’m sure I agreed to it when he first mentioned it a few months ago, but it never happened. I mean, to me, it’s a daunting concept; the hiking, the potty situation, the bugs, the not knowing a thing about it and not really being all that outdoorsy. And for him, he’s busy and why the hell would he want to bother with a newb when he could be fishing instead? Finally, over a few glasses of scotch, with his uncle (and my cousin) Curt egging us on, we agreed to go. Because really, it would take scotch to get me to cross THAT line.
So last night was the night. It was beautiful and clear, the moon was almost new, and we’d both recovered from the scotch.
It was pretty damn dark and we had to hike through a bit of cow pasture to get to the pond and I was convinced that all I would see was this:
But actually, once my eyes adjusted, it looked more like this shot from an article in Fly Rod and Reel magazine that Carl and his friend Justin and their night fishing were the subject of (and that was a horrible sentence and I apologise):
(Only a part of the article is online. Sadly, you have to buy the magazine to read the entire article.)
Anyway, that’s what it looks like. It smelled wonderful because there was tons of wild spearmint everywhere. And the sounds. Coyotes in the distance, cows over the hill and MY GOD. The frogs are hilarious. They sound like loose guitar strings. And lucky for me, it wasn’t buggy at all. But I was prepared just in case. I had a bug mesh thing for my head and I was covered in mosquito repellant (which smells nasty) and gnat repellent (which smells kinda nice because it’s got vanilla in it.) And every now and then, you’ll hear a trout pop the surface to eat something. And I did not know they eat frogs and mice and I always thought it was just flies, you know, because FLY FISHING. I thought that swinging back and forth thing you see in the movies was the “fly” touching the surface of the water to make it look like a bug had landed to entice the fish. No it’s not. Turns out, for trout, that flinging back and forth is to get the line longer so you can cast way out and then slowly bring it back.
The flinging. It’s sort of wonderful to watch. I mean, I couldn’t see much, but it’s kinda mesmerizing. Back and forth a few times and whap! Out it goes. -op8-=
Just as I was typing this, a damned HUGE spider just descended from my ceiling, right in front of my monitor and onto my keyboard. (that weird little -op8-= is me killing the spider on my keyboard.)
OMG. I’ve just lost my train of thought and now I’ve got the huzz.
I was going to say more about the night fishing, but I can’t now. I have to get as far away from my computer as possible. If I didn’t need it to make money, I’d burn my office.
Suffice it to say that my cousin’s knowledge of the Driftless region (and his very detailed explanation of why, geologically, it’s perfect for trout that I can’t possibly recount without sounding like an idiot because there’s just too much information) and his deep affection for all the Driftless has to offer is infectious and while I may not be hooked on night fishing, I certainly really like it and I could even love it some day if I can ever get that damned casting thing down.
And if I stopped being so lazy.
And maybe, MAYBE I will even get over my bug issues…….
Yeah right. Might as well ask for capitalism to crumble into a manageable and fair economic system.