Something Thoreau wrote on March 20, 1858

“The fishes are going up the brooks as they open. They are dispersing themselves through the fields and woods, imparting new life into them. They are taking their places under the shelving banks and in the dark swamps. The water running down meets the fishes running up. They hear the latest news. Spring-aroused fishes are running up our veins too. Little fishes are seeking the sources of the brooks, seeking to disseminate their principles. Talk about a revival of religion! and business men’s prayer meetings! with which all the country goes mad now! What if it were as true and wholesome a revival as the little fishes feel which come out of the sluggish waters and run up the brooks toward their sources?”

As much as it still looks and feels like winter, spring, and the inevitable little fishes, are close at hand.

Some consider angling their revival, their prayer meeting, and go mad over it no matter the time of year. Others just especially look forward to the transition periods.

MG signing off (counting the days ’till the rainbows start running)

One part trolling motor and three parts wind equals twelve parts flyline

Fly-fishing is about ambiguity: when you start the day you’re never 100% sure what to throw, but almost 1% certain what nature will throw back. If you tear the place apart it’s guaranteed that you’ll stretch the truth far beyond your success, and if you don’t you’ll pull numerous excuses out of inventory. Reaching the pinnacle of the sport, however, is just art: spend more time changing flies than casting them, catch three times as many fish as you thought you would, tell everyone you caught ten times that amount, and still reason you should have knocked down 100X if not for an equipment failure that was a direct result of changing flies so often (but that you blame on the wind).

Confused? If you are only half as much as the author you are doing well – twice as much all the better.

Fishing the flats of northeast Florida in the spring has its advantages – the water is warming and the fish are hungry. Expect rivers of grass when the tide is high, and several feet of exposed oyster beds at its low. The redfish are generally smaller (translation: significantly dumber) than they are in say Louisiana, so presentation can be relegated to afterthought. And of course you are not at work.

The downside is the weather is unpredictable. If you fish in the summer you can be sure it will rain like hell from three to five, but the rest of the time skies should be clear. During spring the wind blows hard when the weatherman (translation: teleprompter output interpreter) say it’ll be four knots, so you best bring your 10’er because they are usually off the mark by an equal factor .

Your boat will spin around a lot in this wind, so leave the pole at home and get the trolling motor battery charged. A clean flyline (new if you can swing it) will give you a slight advantage – just don’t leave it lying on the water while you are changing flies for the umpteenth time. A Motorguide running full bore combined with a flailing boat (along with a fly angler paying attention to his flybox beef jerky supplies) can spell catastrophe. Your wallet will thank you for this sage advice. Please trust me on this one.

Small craft advisory and shredded flyline notwithstanding, you should catch quite a few fish. If you’ve spent the last month and a half in Florida [insert excuse here -> after the coldest temps the state has seen in three decades] and only have a handful of sea trout to show for it, this will come as welcome relief. A bottom-of-the-ninth performance may not get you a Fly Rod & Reel cover story, but it will save you another trip to Publix’s fresh fish counter.

Assuming you get the cooler past the dockside pelican guards.

MG signing off (pending return to higher altitude)

For the love of bugs

Snow fell here two nights ago, and although signs of it where gone by midday the next, the message was clear: winter isn’t over yet.

Some pass the time tying flies, while others drink beer and watch fish porn. But the klan is really just waiting for the bugs to bust out.

bugfest-on-my-knee

You know, the majority of humankind doesn’t wish for bugs.  Although considered consumable delicacies in many parts of the two-footed terrestrial world, bugs generally get a bad rap.  Meanwhile, they set the fly fishing set’s hearts aflutter.

We want them so thick that they harass and harangue our eyes and ears.  Get sucked up our noses, and rest on our sandwiches.  Found floating in stream-side beverages, and then tossed into the lions’ den.  They come home with us, attached to the windshield interiors.  Discovered dead in our gear bags, sometimes weeks later.

Friends we call them – best friends. When and where there are bugs, there is bliss. As long as you fly fish.

Spring is officially just one month away.  Yet I’m still buggin’.