The improbability breeds the obsession

fly-fishingEvery year around the middle of the third week of September, I make my way down to South Park. No particular reason per se, and I usually go it alone. There I sit by the bank, fiddle with my gear, make a few select casts, and catch a few trout.

This past weekend marked the pilgrimage, but I didn’t travel any further than Englewood. I forsook a cool, clear mountain stream, winding across a tall grass expanse and over round, moss covered rocks for the faint scent of industrial decay, rusty barrels and re-bar the only potential cover for my prey. There is no comfortable place to rest, at least not without an updated tetanus shot.

On the way home I pick up some tying materials. The hook choice is not Tiemco 200Rs in size 16 but Gamakatsu 3X heavies in #8. They have a warning label on them…


I ponder that, and smile. But the true reason for my glee doesn’t sink in until well past bedtime.

carpFishing the urban warmwater, you need every edge you can get, even if you have to pay triple for it. The quarry can feel your feet hit the ground after you hop a fence fifty yards from the water’s edge, and smell you upstream at twice that distance. They can see 4X flourocarbon bouncing on the bottom, and hear your reel clicking over a train full of coal passing by.

Your adversary leaves numerous traces of their presence, but either feigns ignorance of yours or rockets away as though you haven’t brushed your teeth in a month. But if it’s Friday the 13th, Mars is in retrograde, an El Niño is forming around the Bering Strait, and you’re holding the winning ticket on a forty week Powerball run, you find yourself on the set of an old Clint Eastwood movie.

First, there’s a faint whisper in your ear…

You feeling lucky, punk?

Then a tail pops up, and over the whirring of the reel’s drag there’s a distant shout…

Make my day!

You lose or destroy an inordinate number of flies, not by the usual snagging on branches but via wanton theft and stone cold violence. And now you have to ship your shattered fly rod back to the manufacturer too. It’s a good thing they don’t ask whether you broke it over your knee.

The consolation prize? Outside of the box office stars, there’s still a fine cast of characters.

Will Rice  Barry Reynolds channel catfish

MG signing off (to join the Paparazzi)


n.taylor says:

Speaking of South Park, when are we going?

“The Riceman Ponders”

@NT – May skip it this year, if only to say I stayed away from the place for an entire season. Play the environmentally conscious…giving those fish a break.

@FGA – Always. After which he goes apeshit, and blows the shoal up.

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