Thursday, September 24, 2009

Casting Catastrophes

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. Hebrews 10: 36

Low water to a fly fisher, who’s been deprived of it for weeks, is akin to unlocking the candy store to a small girl with ten dollars in her fist. Recently, Bull Shoals Dam generation schedule has been conducive to some of the finest wade-fishing I’ve ever encountered. So when I prepared my blog post, I expected to supply wondrous tales of all the days I’ve caught a ton of fish lately. I almost considered mentally moving my Rookie status into the intermediate category until one day this past week.
That day reminded me, once again, why fly fishing is never an exact science and why Murphy’s Law operates in my world on a frequent basis. I fished only two hours since friends were invited for dinner that night. I’d prepared cabbage slaw and an old fashioned banana pudding before I left for my favorite gravel bar.
By the time I finished fishing, I noticed my leader appeared short and needed a new piece of tippet. Weary and somewhat lazy at that point, I decided to remedy that problem the next fishing trip and head on home to finish dinner arrangements. The supper went well. Everyone raved about the banana pudding. Fast forward to the next day.
I analyzed my leader and deduced I could get by with a longer piece of tippet rather than a brand new leader. I rode the four-wheeler to my favorite access point behind a neighbor’s place, rigged up with an extra-long piece of tippet and my favorite White River Angel fly, descended the new steps my kind neighbor had built into the gulley and waded carefully across the ditch to my favorite spot.
As I began to cast, I realized the tippet was perhaps a bit too long, when I hit myself on top of the head with the fly. Attempting to adjust and wait a bit longer with the “hesitation step” of my backcast, I next wrapped it around my hat. On the third try, I not only hit myself on top of the head but wrapped it around the magnifiers connected to the brim.
Beginning my normal self-counsel whereby I talk aloud to myself, I finally managed to get a decent cast with no fish. Changing flies and shortening the tippet seemed appropriate, so I chose a yellow soft hackle called an Anna Kay. Getting the line through the hook hole became a trial. The feathers blocked the way. I soothed them down and finally gave in to my sixty-one year old eyes and flipped down my magnifiers. After tying a cinch knot, I somehow managed to trim not only the surplus but the knot as well. Maybe focus was my problem; as I managed to repeat this embarrassing process three more times before I trimmed the excess properly.
After casting the Anna Kay several times with no results, I decided to switch flies again. By now the tippet was too short and I did what I should have done from the beginning, which was to install a brand new leader. I tromped to the gravel bar, disconnected the old and unwound the new. I connected the leader to fly line and prepared to tie on a piece of tippet. I had just recently learned to tie a proper surgeon’s knot and thought I’d give it a try again instead of my “made-up” version, that’s easier but takes up too much leader. Somehow it didn’t work as well as when I had the picture in front of me. When I pulled one last time for security, everything came apart. In my now totally frustrated state, I decide to fall back on my old knot.
At long last, I was ready to re-enter the water with a fly named a Little Randy. My tippet was the right length. My back-cast didn’t snare my hat or glasses. All I needed was a fish. Where were those fifteen to twenty trout I’d caught on my other days? Why did my thumb and palm throb from all my extra casting? And why was the sun suddenly broiling in the heavens?

When my life is snarled and my patience gone, where should I turn? On those knotty days when impatience and doubts overtake me, I realize I can't resolve my problems alone. I cannot simply cut the knots, throw down my gear and walk away. I must instead reach for the Lord’s guidance. No matter how many fears and problems overcome me, he never abandons me. He is always here, walking beside me, guiding, guarding, wrapping his loving arms around me even during my deepest distress.
Isaiah 41:13 says: For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand,saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
When hunger waved a hand at me one more time, I finally succumbed and made my way back across the ditch and up the steep steps to my trusty vehicle. I mentally shook myself, promising a better fishing day tomorrow. In deep reflection, I steered the four-wheeler home and consoled myself with the banana pudding leftovers!
Writer Gal