Story last updated at 1/14/2009 - 10:39 am
It's early January, a bit early to get excited about fly-fishing, I thought to myself as I glared out my window to the sight of freshly falling snow. Still, I couldn't help but cherish the thought as I paced my office holding a rolled issue of Northwest Fly Fishing firmly in my hand mimicking a fly rod.
It didn't take long before I found myself dreaming - slowly drifting away to the soft cadence of rushing water. Soon I was wading, knee-deep, in a secluded river casting spey flies to trophy-sized steelhead. I could see them in the tail out; their shadows swaying slowly like restless ghosts in the quiet jade colored water.
Suddenly, there was a knock - thump, thump - on my door that awakened me. Startled and still clutching my magazine, I rushed downstairs to answer the door. However, to my surprise there was no one there - only a trail of foot tracks in the snow and a large box on the porch with a label that read, "Scott Fly Rod Company" on it.
Hastily, I grabbed the box and ventured back to my office. With each step I took, my enthusiasm grew as I wondered what the contents might be, although I had a fairly good idea from the label alone that the box contained my order of new fly rods. Ripping through the box like a child at a birthday party, tossing packing paper in all directions, I finally found them.
"Yes!" I yelled as I held up a rod tube that read, T2H 1258/4 on it. But this was only the beginning. Before I had finished rambling through the box I had found three more fly rods, one gear bag, two fly reels, extra spools, a bulk spool of backing, five fly lines, several meters of Estaz chenille, some purple and black hackle and five boxes of hooks! It was like the holidays all over again.
It was on this day that I realized something very special and important, and that is that I don't need to painstakingly wait until spring to get equipped and organized to go fly-fishing. I learned that I could now satisfy and fuel my much-needed fly-fishing fix of secreted endorphins in other ways.
For example, during the winter months I could get the same rush (okay, well, almost the same rush) by simply preparing to go fishing: inspecting and casting my fly rods, checking my waders for leaks or tears, greasing my fly reels or filling fly boxes with selectively tied species specific flies.
Now, for the first time I could be ready to fish at any moments notice. Through this experience I developed my "Winter Check-Up" a protocol that not only prepares me for my next fishing trip (whenever that might be), but also quenches my insatiable thirst for my deep rooted passion and obsession I have for fly-fishing.
My Winter Check-Up is a simple inspection of all my gear, followed by a tune-up, which also includes a few basic exercises in casting mechanics. When routinely performed, these steps assure me that not only will my gear be functionally sound when called upon, but also my casting stroke and accuracy will not be a hindrance to me when the fish are in after a long winter hiatus. Good luck and tight lines!