Watchin' For You!

J. Castwell
December 7th, 1998


I don't know if, in the winter it is the length of darkness or the shortness of sunlight, but I dream more at night. At least, I seem to remember them better. No matter, the point is, I think they get more 'goofy' as the winter drags on. One such occurrence took place about a week ago after I had polished off a chunk of mince-meat pie and a slab of ice cream just before turning in. Perhaps it had some influence on the resulting events.

I remember I was sitting by a stream watching some small fish dimpling the surface. The trees and bushes along the stream were a blur, not important, a bit like looking through a tunnel. Standing by my side was someone I seemed to know well. We were in conversation about how to fish for the trout in front of us. My companion wore all gray clothing and of a period long past. It did not seem odd at the time. Quite natural in fact. His rod for the day was long and solid, the horsehair-line which dangled from it was also not out of order. As he explained the method of approach, I became aware that I was in the company of the great Izaak Walton.

The fly selected had been carefully crafted from the meager materials of the day. Feathers and bits of material of which I was not familiar, but thusly tied would certainly attract the quarry. While deftly extending the rod over the stream, he explained the simplicity of fishing for trout with such a combination. It was, indeed, simple, relaxing, peaceful, a time of relaxation as well as a time for procuring some morsels for dinner. His cast was rewarded, a struggling fish dispatched and placed gently in the fern lined wicker basket at his side. Intrigued, I asked to cast the pole and set. With a gentle smile he handed it to me and I laid it back for the cast. The ultimate attractor fly and I was making the cast.

I awoke and cursed the amount of coffee I had enjoyed along with the mince pie. Returning to the darkened room, the clock showed 2 am. I soon dozed off and found myself looking down at a dancing, bubbling, tumbling, fall of water as it cascaded over some granite boulders and settled out into a deep blue-green pool with vegetation defining rivulets of current. There were insects emerging from the surface and a few darting about in a mating flight. My interest was drawn to the insects even more than to the dappling trout. I seemed fascinated with the colors, and hues, and sizes, and how each behaved. Intriguing.

With care, from years of such identification, I caught one from the surface with my hand and attempted to classify it as to which family it may belong. At my side there appeared another gentleman as in the earlier dream. Again, dressed in gray, but not of a time so far passed. A hat, mustache, net, and seemingly, all of the proper 'tools of the trade' for the event. A well-fitted fly-fisher. As many of you have done, we played a sort of a friendly game. Each mentioning and then perhaps offering some small tad of information as to the currents, the flies, the possible 'lays' of a trout; a gentlemanly interview of sorts. All designed to ascertain the depth of knowledge of the other.

This having being done to the satisfaction of each other, we started a conversation which enthralled me. I was face-to-face with Theodore Gordon, and he was explaining how it was in the world of fly-fishing. He knelt to the stream edge and with an studied eye pointed toward various aspects of the environment, singling out each in infinite detail. I held my breath as he described the insects in our view. Pin-pointing each miniscule detail of each fly as he held it aloft for each of us, side-by-side to inspect. His voice would be first soft and careful, and with each additional aspect of an insect he would become more articulated and when finally he had explained all parts of it he would stand and with a hand raised high over his head, demand that 'all real fly-fishers' should endeavor to thrive to duplicate 'each and every insect found in the realm of the trouts.' Utterly fascinating. As he left, turning with a brisk wave I heard him say, "You will know Vincent Marinaro, study him well." I turned to the placid pool in deep concentration. I had seen the truth and it set well on my mind.

The dog needed to go out. He ( miniature dachshund ) woke me by walking on my face. This is not too an uncommon trait of his when I keep him up later than usual. It was nearly 4 am; we both went out, and returned to finish the rest of our nights repose. As I drifted off, images of some of the tying materials I had been reading about earlier in the evening drifted through my mind. Probably not a good thing to have happened. Before long I was at a fly tying bench alongside a figure shrouded in gray and surrounded by massive piles of violently colored tying materials. There were heaps of it everywhere, higher than my head, and I was frightened. This was a time of tension, I was in the future and it did not comfort me. The 'figure' was furiously lashing wild and outrageous gobs of tying material to a vise-held hook. "The world of fly-fishing is ours,' he bellowed! There are more materials coming on the market than even I can possibly attempt to tie and name. I must hurry before someone else invents yet another new fly, or re-names yet another with only a simple variation of some new material not available yesterday!"

And it was dawn. Gentle light was drifting about the room and I swung my feet to the floor to give birth to yet another day as a writer of fly-fishing. It is a good job. I really do enjoy it. It is the best I have ever had; I would not trade it, ever. ~ JC

Till next week, remember ...

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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