You ever have one of those days where your brain just won’t shut the fuck up and leave you be? I realized today while I threw my gear into the truck knowing the wind would suck, that if I didn’t go out I would only feel worse. I made myself go.
There was no call from the river, but sitting in my house just thinking and tying, and thinking and tying and rewatching the same episodes of Parks and Rec and The Office didn’t seem like how I wanted to spend the day. There is plenty of that in the evenings where I pace around my 180 sq ft tiny house from tying desk to loungy chair before bed. And my mornings are the same just between the coffee pot and the tying table.
One part of it is the end of the cabin fever and the anxiousness of the spring. I can feel things changing and that only makes it worse for me. Its like the spring jump starts that energy I have. An energy which has had little avenue lately. Chasing steelhead was a wonderful distraction and outlet but its just not the same as chasin troots. Frankly compared to trout fishing, at least for me, steelheading is wicked boring. And winter trout fishing is mostly me just yelling at and arguing with the river for still being wintery.
The other part of it is lonliness. Let me be honest. It has settled in. And the very few people I have spent time with off river personally leave me with just wanting to go fish more. Off river life is complicated and full of What If’s, Maybes, Games, and entirely to much drinking. The more time I spend riverside the less I enjoy and understand the off river.
There isn’t any lonliness in fishing. I have never truly felt lonely while fishing solo. My brain can’t get in the way either. It has a purpose, something to focus on when on river. It allows me to process, and make sense of the noise in my head. Filter each sound out, address it, listen to it, and move on to the next one. All while slinging another cast to that juicy lane.
It’s never just fishing. And I had little actual interest in catching a fish today. I actually preferred not to and wasn’t bummed when I left without feeling the tug. It really wasn’t about that today. My brain has been exhausted. My personal life has been in turmoil but has settled finally. I feel physically prepared, gear is ready, boat too, but mentally I haven’t felt ready for that intensity that comes with guiding.
The brain is the harder of the things to prepare. Getting rid of distractions, taking a break from the majority of people, fishing solo, enjoying the things that my lifestyle allows me, talking with my kids, all help settle the mind. Yoga too. In reality, getting my shit together has been the biggest help. I have had help, which I will always be grateful for, but I also had to just take care of some shit on my own. Hence, mentally exhausted. Today and the next few are about taking time to get focused on the river. It takes up my whole life for the most part once things start rolling. I felt the pressures of rambling and rolling to heavy last season. Not taking time with the mental side of things and I paid some heavy prices for it.
The guide season starts this weekend for me. And the spring is shaping up to be the busiest I have ever had. And spring fishing ain’t easy anglers. I will be happy to go back to the routine of the guide life. The challenge of the river and clients, searching for that groovy jam of anglers and guide, boat and river, trout and fly, all playing together.
Things off river are in order as much as they can be. Any other worries I have flow away with the river current every morning. It becomes just…the day…and what it will bring and what I make of it. Then its just days…more river days. Chasing 260 riverside and 170 guide days this season. The things I need the river will provide. Its not a bad way to live. Finally back to that simple guide life. Just chase trout. Just chasin’ trout.
See ya riverside anglers.