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My Fishing Days Are Closing Fast

March 19, 2022

“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 69 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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One Comment
  1. It happens. Sometimes you may feel like pushing yourself, but it’s definitely harder. The question is, I guess, is whether to push or relax and enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

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