Smallmouth Alley, August 2002

Or, the transience of serendipity.

Winter, perilous with reflection, & c. …¬†you remember. I woke up well before dawn today, a Saturday, the last day of 2011. I woke up because I was haunted by warmwater. Let the dog out, made a huge mug of black tea (Ceylon Vithakananda Estate in a Big Gulp), and sat down to continue remembering a dream that revisited one of the linchpin moments in my flyfishing life. Bear with me while I get all philosophickal and maudlin.

I won’t say where Smallmouth Alley is, not because I don’t want it spoiled by punters – except for on one storybook dreamtime day in August 2002, there’s fuckall there to be spoiled. The GPS coordinates are irrelevant because¬†Smallmouth Alley isn’t a where, it’s a when.

Actually, I'm sort of lying. This ate a little orange popper and put a wicked hurt on the VPS in August of '09. But it was the only fish I got all day.

But I digress. We must return to a time when transport was Slint’s (bless him and keep him, you remember) Troutmobile, a time of non-breathable bootfoot waders and Terminator X Fitovers and a borrowed club of a 5 weight.

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Middle Root, 2002

Far-off and maddening spring, when it’s all next, next, next. Bust out enough of this pattern to loan or lose in a week, block out the time and square away obligations to catch this hatch, re-up on tippet before the first trip, then get to the river as much as you can and soak it up like a solar panel. No. Sedentary winter, cold and slow, is perilous with reflection, hours and hours of Taurean dark streaked comet-like by tumblers of distillate, its accretion of seasons as imponderable and no less miraculous than your own.

My first trout came, as I reckon it here from this chair, when I was twenty six and out of work, spending a summer learning to fly fish in spring creeks. Continue reading