Chris Ellis: Need a chance to get away? Try fishing
In the midst of my mid-summer grind of homeowner chores, work-related projects and simply life Mother Nature threw me a bone. And boy, could I use one at this particular time in my life.
Somehow, I found myself in a full-blown, hard-as-you-can-go rut. Between grass cutting, work, household chores, more work, family responsibilities, honey-do’s and scheduled maintenance I was running fast, and to be frank, not getting anywhere. I was in a mid-summer doldrum and in need a breather.
And then as though scripted, the weather shifted from hot and muggy to a slight cool-down that blanketed southern West Virginia. A small front blew through with a few rainstorms and showers leaving behind a crisp, clear, bright day. If you tried hard enough and squinted your eyes just right, you could feel and taste a hint of fall in the air. Albeit very small, it was a taste nonetheless. I took the sign hook, line and sinker.
I needed to wash the summertime work, travel and chore dust off my soul. I was longing for cool waters, shade and the sounds and smells only a fast-moving creek or river can provide. It was time to fish.
Knowing that a schedule that was already full and overflowing couldn’t hold much more weight without collapsing, I rolled the dice and threw caution to the wind. Adding a day of fishing was risky and I knew that something or someone was going to have to wait on my return, but it was a gamble I was willing to take. My time needed me and I needed my time no matter how selfish that sounded in my head or how guilty I might feel for taking a day. I took it.
My plan was simple flyrod, flies, cooler lunch and no watch. Somehow not wearing a watch would slow down time. At least that was my thought. With gear packed and with a light heart, I rolled down the windows of the truck and headed to my go-to creek. The creek is nothing special to write home about, but it is a very special place to me and I am emotionally connected to it. It has served me well over the years and I have done my best to give back it in the form of repayment where and when I’m able.
As I rounded the curve, I got my first look at the creek’s water. It is part of my ritual every time I fish it. I pull over at the wide spot when the creek is first visible, look at the water and say out loud to whoever is with me in the truck or alone, the condition of the creek.
“Stained and running a tad high, but fishable,” I said aloud to myself.
The recent rains had the creek running high and its waters cloudy - almost ideal conditions to fool a summertime trout into striking my fly.
I parked just off the road adjacent to the best runs in the creek. This was not the time for scouting new sections or playing around with new fly patterns. My plan called for a straight-forward approach to maximize my allotted time on the creek.
My day on the creek was not perfection - my casts were hurried and sloppy, the fish were not exceptionally active and the day did not play out as the “best day of fishing ever.” But none of that mattered. What mattered was I marked a day on my calendar as a Fishing Day and that is exactly what I did.
I went fishing. It was glorious.
Chris Ellis of Fayetteville, W.Va., an outdoorsman and Marshall University graduate, is owner of Ellis Communications, a public relations agency serving the outdoor industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.