Two thousand and nine had its moments, but I’m happy to see this year fading into the rearview mirror.
Many of 2009’s good moments happened while I was holding a fishing rod, so why not fish even more in 2010?
That’s my plan, anyway.
I haunt some Internet fishing sites, and the message boards are often clogged with posts from people who just can’t find time to fish – and a lot of these folks live within 5 minutes of Puget Sound.
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Confession: I have frittered away much of my 48 years with a fishing rod in hand, and I’ve learned how to maximize fishing time.
First of all, be ready to fish.
Carry a rod, reel, waders and a few lures or flies in the car trunk or behind the truck seat.
Nothing is worse than driving past some luscious, fishy water on the way home from work – and all the tackle is neatly stored in the closet at home.
If you’ve got the gear, it’s easy to pester the fish during lunch breaks – or even on the drive to or from school, work or even a romantic date.
Think of it this way – are you an angler or not?
OK. Now that we’ve got that settled, you need to get the folks who are not angling junkies – bosses, spouses, significant others – used to your peculiar life.
Turning your loved ones into fellow angling addicts is the best way to increase your own fishing time. That may mean taking the kids fishing for an hour or two every week, and nothing beats that.
But what about work – or if you’re in a new relationship? Both of these pursuits are proven wreckers of valuable angling time.
It’s all about communication, and this is one time when the incomprehensible, modern mania for electronic leashes can work for the harassed angler.
In my view, cell phones were invented for one thing:
“Hello, (boss/parents/ significant other, etc. …)
“I’m going to be a little late getting to (work, home, date, etc. …) as something has come up.”
Now, that something may well be bass sharking around in the shoreline weeds and lily pads at that little lake down the road – or it may be resident coho ripping up a school of baitfish at a South Puget Sound beach.
In any case, it is best if you leave a message instead of actually having a conversation.
I’m a weak text messager, but a text may be the best way to remain in communication – while not actually having a real conversation that would include prying questions that cut into fishing time.
Besides, everyone knows that cell phone coverage goes haywire whenever trout are rising within eyesight.
Here is a sample text for you:
“Crazy here. Losing signal. Will call soonest.”
Carrying a dead cell phone battery in your trunk tackle is a good move. Why? Well, if you can’t figure that out, you need to fish a wee bit more.
Anyway, fishing during the lunch hour – or on the way home from work – is an addiction that just might wash away some of the grit of ordinary life.
While other worker bees are fighting rush-hour traffic, the addled angler is often easing the car down a quiet road toward a favorite pond or stretch of stream.
Making a few casts while those on the road curse the evening bumper-to-bumper road insanity seems like a good way to coax the stress out of your system.
Fishing for an hour or so before or after work adds a whole new outlook to your life.
What seemed impossible and difficult – and so far away – seems easy and normal. And, instead of thinking and longing about fishing, you’re out there doing it.
Most of my fishing trips are more like fishing breaks.
They last an hour or two – mostly to skim the cream off a Puget Sound tide or the last, magical hour of daylight during the summer.
And those little moments – when a trout rises or a heron lifts off the water with two or three slow-motion wing beats – just might be some of the best seconds of 2010.
Chester Allen: 360-754-4226