Between Seasons

January 16, 2021

I could have gone to the river the other day, or tomorrow, but its cold and nasty out. 

I like the idea of having a season,  an in between time when you do other things.  Fiddle with tackle, tie a few flies, read books, as well as shorten that Honey-do list.  

I do them all as well as think about, talk about, and dream about what the spring will bring. 

Will Covid take a backseat this year?  Will we get the vaccines to allow a bit more travel and interaction? Will I ever be able to look at a motel room and think it is safe? These are interesting times to say the least.

I have found reading, tying and some club meetings on Zoom keep me from going crazier than I already am. Here is  sample of the books I have been through – 

John McDonald’s book on Theodore Gordon – The Complete Fly Fisherman.  It is set up with his magazine articles in one section, correspondence in another, all in date order.  I find it fascinating to read what he was writing on a January day, shivering in a frame house by the Neversink, as I sit in my warm living room over 100 years later. It is not a book to rush through and in fact I haven’t finished it yet.

Then there was John Gubbins’ The American Fly Fishing Experience which is a historical novel of the life of Theodore Gordon which fills in the blanks with some imaginative writing. I enjoyed it.

Russell Chathan was next who’s Silent Seasons introduces us to his whole rowdy crowd.  Free spirits all. 

John Day Parker – A Canadian from the Maritimes who settled in Pittsburgh where he wrote about his home waters. The Autobiography of a Fisherman was the first I read, obtained from the CFFCM book sale last spring.  Then his River of Strangers and finally his most well known work, and most controversial, Rockbound. A novel based on what he knew of the harsh life of fisherman and their families struggling to survive the island life up north and east.

I added Robert Traver’s Laughing Whitefish to my collection of his good works. Entertaining and informative of a time in the UP when Native Americans and “citizens” lived side by side and still had no idea who the other was. 

I re-read Walton/Cotton’s The Compleat Angler followed by James Prosek’s A Connecticut Yankee Follows in the Footsteps of Walton.  Walk with James as he literally follows Walton up the stream and over the dale. 

Then there was Essays After Eighty by the recently passed Donald Hall.  No fishing but an interesting look into the life of one who loved the rural life.

Of course I read John Gierach’s newest – Dumb Luck and the Kindness of Strangers and he never disappoints.  My copy is signed and has an illustration of a Royal Coachman by artist Bob White.  Makes it a little special. 

Steve Raymond’s A Fly Fisher’s Sixty Seasons was not what I expected but a friend assured me that he is a good guy and well intentioned so I read it through.

Finally The Spirituality of Fly Fishing by Jody Martin.  I had planned a project on this subject but opted out.  Jody has combined the topic with a beginners manual and the forward is by Ed Nicholson of Project Healing Waters. The cover and photographs are stunning but the text was a bit dense for me although filled with good information on fly fishing and the spiritual life.

There were a few more including a new one of mine from other areas of interest

I am hoping 2021 won’t leave so much time for reading as 2020 did. 

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