Monday, March 23, 2015

In Brief: A Whole Different Thing

Some ten years ago, pre-migration, I visited Connecticut for the Christmas holiday. Scrabbling for an initial point of connection, I remember my father-in-law greeting me with great enthusiasm and a bellowed question: "DID YOU BRING YOUR AUGER?" Back then I was starting to realise *how foreign I was. I could've employed a full-time interpreter and awkwardly I asked him to repeat the new word. But nothing in his spastic fist twisting suggested anything other than a man who liked an early sherry. A good sign, but no explanation.

A year or two later, post-migration, I started to fly-fish my way down a list of new and truly great fish. The ponds and rivers remained largely familiar; with the exception of the Brookie, trout were still trout. The ocean was a new thing, and if pressed, I'd say it's become the place where I most want to be. All said, I've established a roughly workable calender of fresh and salt water fishing, with good options through spring, summer, fall and winter, frozen rivers and other burdens notwithstanding.

I always suspected that too many reliable men where doing it for it to be anything but right. They asked if I wanted to try it the way they broke steelhead to me - the crack cocaine of all fish. Reverential tones, voices lowered, words at a loss to explain. There would be no going back.   

We all have tolerance limits, and ice fishing always looked like a whole different thing. Flies and even rods exchanged for spending time in company, a counter dose of lunacy for the mental drag of dormant New England winter. Sure, a reason - any reason? - for desperate men to be outside in January, February, March. At least, that's what ice shanties meant to an ignoramus like me. 

Lesson #1. A shelter is essential for preserving the pungent beauty of sausages

Last night the seal was broken on new territory, and of course I remain, sirs, entirely ignorant of its workings. But I recognize the rare and rather exciting feeling for a new thing uncovered, and of double-edged gratitude for this spiked curiosity, more wondrous ruin.

Walleye are great looking fish

Simply, genius

Guinness is Good For You

**I pity you, for you have no idea how good this tasted.

Short but welcome. Andy is 6' 3.

A hole different thing
Setting camp on a frozen lake on a mild March night, the mist-laden reek of butter-fried kielbasa and pierogis, scanning and running for the occasional Zander, is as good an explanation as ever I needed.


* Like spelling realise correctly, I've come to greatly enjoy alien-ship as a permanent pass-time.
** Several orders of magnitude better than indoor Collinsville salsa.

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