This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
November 28th, 2005

No Hits, No Runs

I was able to unchain myself from my computer desk on Wednesday, at least long enough to say I had gone fishing.

And indeed, my husband JC and I traveled about 20 minutes down to the local creek which has a spawning run of Chum salmon. We geared up, neoprene waders, surgical gloves, 8 weight rods, extra flies and off we went like a couple of kids down the well-worn path through the brush to the estuary. It is obvious someone has been doing some 'tending,' there was no trash around, and the soggiest part of the trail had a covering of straw. I don't know it as a fact, but I suspect the results are the efforts of the local Pogie Club.

We probably should have been forewarned, there were only a very few cars parked on the roadside. We talked to a couple of people watching the salmon at the bridge (really not a bridge but a box culvert) and there were quite a few fish in the plunge pool below the bridge. An occasional fish would make the jump - and actually if you watch closely the jump is a combination of an upward leap with serious swimming. A couple did make it, the remainder would have to wait for the next high tide.

Incoming tides are the best for that particular fishery, but we don't always have the choice of when we can fish. In this case, the high tide had come and was rapidly retreating.

We did see a few pods of fish way out in the bay leaping about, but in the creek itself? Not much. We walked out to the end of land, watched for a while, saw two very small pods of salmon come in, perhaps a total of twenty fish. They decided the creek was just too shallow and turned around and went back out into the bay.

We made a few casts as the pods came in, but no hits, no runs, and the only error? Well, maybe going at all.

But somehow getting into the car and just driving down to see what is happening doesn't count. I mean it's not "going fishing." Going fishing requires getting the gear on, rigging up and having the expectation that you might catch fish...or something.

It is all in the mind of the fisherman isn't it? I've been all geared up and totally prepared to fish and not wet the line. If someone had asked I guess I would have said I'd been fishing, even if it wasn't totally correct. Then again, maybe it was/is.

I've had a fishing experience or two where I wasn't anywhere close to the water, didn't have a rod in hand (although I must say when I'm practicing casting I can get pretty close to the fishing experience.) I don't need a video, telly or a book to have that fishing experience. It's in there. In my head, my memory.

It is the 'thing' which sustains me through the dark winter months, or the bright spring days when others are fishing and I'm working. I pile up those 'things' whenever I can - even if it means going fishing when there aren't any fish.

I hope you take the time to see, hear and feel the experience as well. To catalog those things in your memory to draw on when things aren't as good as we would like. When the world seems nuts.

One of the main ingredients which bind all fly fishermen together is that common frame of reference. The common ground which we all share. It is what makes us who we are, not just as fly fishers, but as people.

Ain't it grand? ~ DLB

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