Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sometimes the river wins

I took some time to fish the Stillaguamish last Tuesday. I hadn't been there before, so picked a likely spot not far from Stanwood. Put on the waders, assembled the fly rod, and headed to the water. It was a beautiful northwest Autumn afternoon; the maples glowed orange while behind them rose the snow-covered flanks of the Cascade foothills. The sun glistened off the river as a donkey brayed somewhere in the distance. And I had it all to myself.

There was a small boat ramp leading from the parking lot into the river. Next to the boat ramp was a little trail climbing over the bank, and dropping to the river's edge. Seemed easy enough.

Except the downward slope was a tiny bit more slipper than I expected. Which is why I ended up sliding the final 2 feet down the bank into the river.

Oh, and the river was a bit deeper at the edge than I was expecting. No gentle dropoff; I found myself almost chest-deep though I was at the river's edge.

But, I was wearing waders, so not a problem. Except for some concern that I could get back out of the river, what with the steep dropoff and the slippery bank. I didn't feel like wading further out from the edge to get around a large tree, which was blocking my path over to the boat ramp. So I stood there about 10 seconds, pondering my predicament.

Because it only took about 10 seconds to realize that, as I slid down the bank, a sharp root had sliced a large hole in the waders, which were quickly filling up with water. (I should offer the observation that these waders were all of 2 months old, and this was only the third time they'd been in the water.)

Did I mention I was all alone and nobody knew where I was?

Quickly taking stock of the situation, I grasped a strong root just overhead and pulled/slithered/crawled up the muddy hillside to safety.

So what's a fisherman to do? Keep fishing, of course.

The hole in the waders was high enough that I could walk out the boat ramp a ways. And the water really wasn't all that cold, and the sun was still shining. Why let a little thing like this ruin the day?

Of course, the problem with riverbanks is they have overhanging trees. And the problem with not getting very far out into the river is that your backcast has a great chance of getting caught up in those tree branches.

And so I cast, and so my fly line was caught 15 feet up in a maple tree.

Which is right when the first person I'd seen in hours drove up in her car. And offered the helpful observation, "You're not supposed to catch tree branches! {chortle chortle chortle}"

I tried a few more times, got in some nice casts, watched a few sea lions float lazily down the river, even got a nibble or two. But wouldn't you know it, the second time I got my line caught back in that tree, two cars drove into the lot. It's like they were just waiting to humiliate me.

In August, when Mike was giving me my first fly casting lesson, he said something like "you will embarrass yourself. Just expect it." I guess this is all part of the learning process.

So I drove home, water still sloshing around my feet, counting up the cost of a new set of waders, sad that I hadn't caught a fish, but glad that I didn't drown. 

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

You know what else is offensive?

A couple weeks go I went to Target with the girls, to look for Halloween costumes (Clara ended up being Cleopatra, and Olivia was a black cat).

We had a hard time finding the Halloween stuff (remember this was a couple weeks ago) because it was way in the back, hidden by all the Christmas stuff.

Is it too early to remind you all of this?