In which caribougrrl remembers how to cast a line, practices her birding skills, and is reminded why it's called fishing (not called catching).
|It looks like a good spot to fish, right? Or does it not?|
5:00 AM: I finally relent to the pacing and whining dogs and get up to feed them. Every morning, starting at about 4:15, the dogs start to worry that I will forget to give them breakfast. This is a completely normal start to my day, every day. But today is fishing day. And it is pouring with rain. POURING. I know, technically, that you can go fishing in the rain. I think, perhaps, it might even be the best weather for fishing. Did I mention POURING with rain? I feed the dogs, double check all my gear. Wonder if I have enough snacks.
5:20 AM: It is still pouring with rain, so I go back to bed.
6:15 AM: Fefe Noir wakes me up to tell me it stopped raining. I admit this news feels a little disappointing.
6:35 AM: Standing in the hallway in my rubber boots, I realize that in the event I actually catch a fish, I want something to stun it with before bleeding it. I rifle through the toolbox. I realize that in the event I actually catch a fish, I might also want grippy gloves to hold on to it.
6:45 AM: At the local gas station, I buy a couple of cheap pairs of rubberized gloves. I resolve my snack issue by buying a chocolate bar: dark, with nuts, so I can imagine it counts as a healthy breakfast.
7:05 AM: I am back at the house because I discover I left without making coffee. What?
7:15 AM: I leave a thermos of coffee and a mug on the bedside table next to a snoring Fefe Noir. One of the dogs and at least one cat have stolen the warm spot I left.
7:20 AM: While I drive, I consider the options in my tackle box and make a plan. I remind myself about the things I tend to forget when casting, like pinning the line down before releasing the spool. Um, like releasing the spool, at that. I am in good mental form, visualizing the entire process.
7:25 AM: I turn down Fisherman’s Road and think this is a sign. Then I think it is in fact, literally, a sign. I no longer know what to make of it.
|When caribougrrl turns the car onto Fisherman's Road, she takes it as a sign.|
8:05 AM: I do not find the fishing rod in the car.
8:15 AM: I find the fishing rod leaning against the wall by the front door, right where I left it so that I wouldn’t forget it. Not a creature is stirring. Not one. No one seems to notice I have left the house and come back. All I can hear is snoring.
|caribougrrl decided to try her luck in the streams because|
even though it's June, it's so early in the season, the alder
catkins are still out and the leaves are only starting to unfurl.
(I am more amazed that no matter how many birders I’ve spent time with and how many hundreds of collective hours they’ve spent trying to teach me stuff, I am terrible at bird identification. White throated sparrow and black capped chickadee are the only ones I feel confident about by ear. And I’m not convinced I would know the sparrow by sight.)
8:45 AM: I debate between a float and a sinker to go with my hook and fake egg. On the one hand, the egg is supposed to float. On the other hand, I am worrying about whether the float has enough weight to allow me to cast. I decide on a small sinker but two glo-eggs. The stupid squishy looking fake fish eggs are really difficult to jam on the hook and they smell weirdly like diesel fuel. I cannot imagine how this might be attractive, but then again, I am not a trout. In the end, I only put one on because I can’t face doing it twice.
8:55 AM: I struggle to dredge up the muscle memory I need for casting. Every few attempts, nothing happens, the line doesn’t leave. In between the times I forget to release the spool, I spend a lot of time untangling. Eventually I find my rhythm.
9:25 AM: I become aware of the black flies lined up under the rim of my hat and along my collar. I decide the eggs aren’t doing it. I inspect the tackle box and consider the big white grubs but switch to a wiggly thing with glitter on it.
|caribougrrl brought a sampling of tackle with her; since she doesn't really |
know what she is doing, she just brought the bright and shiny things...
9:50 AM: As much as I am enjoying casting and reeling, casting and reeling, casting and reeling, I have not actually seen any fish. I have not even seen any signs of fish. No jumping, no unexplained ripples on the surface of the pool… other than an ancient faded empty Vienna Sausage tin, I have not even seen any signs that anyone else has maybe ever stood here trying to catch fish.
9:55 AM: I am itchy where a black fly dug a hole in my finger, right on a knuckle. The swelling is making it difficult to bend the finger. I curse at the cloud of black flies surrounding my head even though I know this particular bite is from a couple days ago.
9:57 AM: I decide that probably the trout are already out of the streams and back in the ponds. I know this decision, though it feels full of authority, is based on nothing but unjustified conviction. I have no idea what I’m doing.
|Or maybe the leafing out of the alder means the trout -- clearly|
not in this stream -- are already in the ponds? Maybe?
10:05 AM: I dig the chocolate out of my pack and eat it.
10:20 AM: As I’m walking I see that the ferns in this area are still young enough to pick as fiddleheads. We don’t have fiddleheads proper here in Newfoundland but Peter Scott assures us that these other not-quite-fiddlehead ferns are edible. I know from experience, however, that by edible he does not mean palatable. I keep walking. I suddenly hear a racket… no, a volley of noise. Tattatatatatatatatat tattattattat. Like gun shots, but not quite… maybe a nail gun? Or a toy gun? It’s relentless and getting louder. I find myself surrounded by yellow warblers, darting around madly with no apparent purpose.
(Let’s be honest. These might well not have been actual yellow warblers… they could have been any one of the “Confusing Yellow Warblers” in the Peterson guide. Or maybe even some other sort of small yellow woodsy bird. Not even a woodsy bird necessarily, it’s more like scrub land. The only thing I am certain of is that these were not american goldfinch.)
10:25 AM: Standing where I expect to find the trail that winds itself down to the pond, I am surprised to find a construction trailer. And a leveled-out bit of land. When did that happen? I worry about the beaked hazel but I can’t tell for sure if it’s in or out of the construction footprint. Not really keen on the idea of meandering blindly toward an unseen pond, hoping to cross the trail somewhere past the development, I decide the trout are probably still in the river. I mean, it’s been a slow spring, and still pretty cold out.
|There used to be a trail here, one that wound it's way down the hill toward|
a lovely pond. Probably brimming with trout.
10:35 AM: Working my way back to the car, I stop and flick my line out into a few more river pools. Nothing. Well, I snag a couple of rocks and thus have a couple of milliseconds of mild excitement, but no fish.