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My Fishing Days Are Closing Fast

November 8, 2019

“There is a time and season for all things under heaven.” I am starting to be a believer. I have been a fly fisherman since the age of four. That is some 67 years in total. I have fished all over the world and in every part of the Western United States. I have always enthusiastically enjoyed wading into any stream to ply my craft as a fly fisherman. It is what I have done weekly for seven decades. This year, however, I noticed a change.

As last fall’s trout season heated up in Western North Carolina, I found myself preoccupied with the ambient temperature. If it was down in the thirties or below, I seemed to have found an excuse to stay home by the fire. Christ, I remember a mere 30 years ago when I thought nothing of heading out for Steelhead when the temperature in Oregon was 15 degrees. No biggie! I just had to de-ice by guides before each cast. I am now writing this with the hiss of my gas fireplace before me as a whispering, whimpering witness.

I remember with great fondness my father and his fishing persistence. This was a man who in any temperature could eagerly put his whole line into the air on Oregon’s Rogue River well into his eighties. It wasn’t until one gray day on the Lower Rogue that I noticed he was out of breath. He had his aortic valve changed for one of a pig and was back on various rivers in no time. Yes, he slowed down a bit but only a bit. He could still cast circles around most other fishermen in his late eighties, including me.

This last year, I wasn’t in the water as much as usual. I coughed-up excuses like, “Well, maybe later when the weather warms up.” The weather did eventually warm-up but I was not on the stream as much in any case. Oh yes, there was the back that ached, the knee that just wasn’t any good, recent surgeries, and a plethora of super lame excuses. The truth was that I was just getting older and was turning into a bit of a “gentlemen fisherman.” Yuk!

I am looking at another season ahead and remember those bright days of my youth on Northern California’s Owens River. I am confident that I will once again conquer time and be on the stream bright and early… Well, maybe by noon. In the end, I suppose that I must accept that my fishing days are closing fast.

For a much longer treatment of this subject and how we often trade places with our parents, please purchase my book:

Note: The photo of me and a nice steelhead was taken on Oregon’s Smith River in 1996. It was only 32 degrees on the water that day! 🙄 Photo by Jerry Edin.

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  1. “To every season, turn, turn, turn…”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dalsis David Everett permalink

    Join the club! Well-written piece with lots of underlying emotion but what do I know!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “Many fish bites if ya got good bait…”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Un ricordo molto poetico. Noi siamo parte della natura e come lei abbiamo le nostre stagioni.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a nice recollection

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I know some people manage to pursue their favorite outdoor activities until their 80s and 90s, but honestly, they’re in the minority. We all hope for the best, and most of us have to accept some limitations. Or maybe it really does cease to be enjoyable for some reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. To be honest, we must also recognize that our parents/grandparents did not have all the niceties and comforts that we do have today, hence they less less determination in deciding to go out bright and early into the cold.
    We have electronics that bring us fresh news at our fingertips in the morning, we have warm and comfortable places to enjoy coffe with the morning readings, we have less need to be active because the house can be kept clean with less time and effort, … etc.
    We are spoiled, and the first ones to dislike that is ourselves, we look at the past and think that we could be more like grandma, or mother but we can’t because our lives were different even in the leisure part of it.
    I wonder if they looked back at their “grands” and wonder why their old father or mother did this and that, but they could not.
    I must be part of life.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The iPhone always write something of its own initiative 🤨 “they needed less determination in …”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Appunto! That’s why I write everything the “old fashioned” way.That way I can only blame the guy in the mirror (which I do often).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I am only too aware of what you are experiencing. I have been gradually withdrawing from my beloved Catskill rivers each year. I find it a real possibility that I may have wet my last line in the Beaverkill and the other rivers I have fished for over 50 years. If that is the case, I will thank God for those years and look forward to other activities as I age. C’est la guerre…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I began to feel this way when we headed out to the ski slope some years back. Was it always this cold? Did my knees swell a bit last time we went? Such a hard thing. The mountains are as beautiful as ever, and the snow, an endless dream come true. That warm fire beckoned in such a powerful way, even with the slant of the sun so perfect. I do not know if I will venture to that mountain to ski again or not. I like to think I might. I hate to think it is the last time for things. I found my ice skates in a box, and I had to throw them out…they were no good any more. I stood there wondering when was the last time I had used those skates; always a strange feeling when we think of things like that. It was like yesterday, and yet, a long time past.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Allen, hat off to an enduring, well rounded life!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Okay – I fished the North Mills River today (Nov. 15) and had 14 fish, all released. Did I bitch? Yes – The temps were in the 30’s and the water was like ice. 😲


  13. I resonate with this so much! Thank you for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The fewer trips you are able to take, though, for whatever reason — work, family, health — the more each seemingly means, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Fight it! Fight it with every fiber of your being, even if that means going to some of the more easily accessible spots. My dad (who is almost 70) wears two knee braces, and that seems to help him with river wading. Maybe it might be worth a try? Tight lines to you, sir.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you – I still fish regularly as I used to be a salmon guide in Oregon. It’s in the blood but when it gets down in the teens, I prefer a warm fire. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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