Observations from the Water – this Past Week (13-19-Dec)
Oh, you know where this is going when what you see above is my feature photo. I didn’t fish a single day this past week. If you live around here, that’s likely not a surprise – huge wind throughout the week destroyed any hope of a productive outing. Although we had some sunny days with temperatures breaking 60, just launching a boat would have been a hazardous, let alone angling. Waves, well over 10’, rocked Lake Erie and Lake Ontario more days than not. In turn, the Niagara River ran the color of chocolate milk all week and untold amounts of debris made it borderline unsafe to operate a vessel. Brutal.
It’s been a while since I’ve wet a line. Other than when I go on vacations (even then, I usually fish), I can’t recall the last time I went a week without fishing. Sure, walking the creeks could’ve been an option, but somehow, I settled into a state of inertia. Well, that’s not entirely true – here are a few activities I got involved in to break up the monotony:
- I read the following books:
A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century by Heather Heying, Bret Weinstein, narrated by Heather Heying, Bret Weinstein: https://www.audible.com/pd?asin=059345765X&source_code=ASSORAP0511160006&share_location=player_overflow
The Decadent Society by Ross Douthat, narrated by Ross Douthat: https://www.audible.com/pd?asin=1797103172&source_code=ASSORAP0511160006&share_location=player_overflow
- I exercised: I have a gym membership but when it starts getting cold (and when it starts getting hot), I prefer to exercise outdoors. Like many inhabitants of the northern latitudes, I don’t function particularly well in the frigidity of winter and the heat of the summer. So, I exercise outdoors as often as possible in those conditions to build a tolerance to them…to climatize. Here are some themes of this program:
- It’s all functional – I think about a day on the water and all the physical challenges that accompany that endeavor and try to mimic them in a workout. I hike up and down the gorge at Devils Hole – in the past, I’ve filled a backpack with dumbbells to mimic carrying someone who’s wounded or packing out a fresh kill. This past week, I did this hike carrying heavy kettlebells to improve grip strength and to mimic hauling supplies around an austere location. Similarly, I flip and drag heavy tires to build power and mimic lifting items/injured people. The general theme – develop strength, power, and endurance – using the entire body in every exercise – in order to survive harsh conditions and render aid to those in need.
- I don’t measure/record results. I’m not knocking the practice of maintaining a workout log and trying to beat personal records – if it helps, do it. All I ask is that you think critically about the process – why do you do it? After reflecting on the majority of my adulthood in the military where trying to break records was a way of life, I realized – that quest often leads to personal injury. Nowadays, mindfulness drives workout performance instead of monitoring times/amount of weight lifted. Think about it this way – every day/every workout – involves a dizzying number of variables that can impact performance. Sleep the night prior, a fight with a spouse or loved one, hamburgers and fries one day and salmon and capers the next, sexual activity, etc. – all of it effects performance. My take – keep it simple – just barely touch your threshold for physical pain and break a sweat every time you crunch it. The rest will fall in place.
- I visited the river and stared at the mud with a longing for a more stable pattern
- I completed the rough draft for this: The Annual Pattern of Life in the Buffalo Niagara Region (brookdogfishing.com). I’m not sure what this is or where I want to take it, but I have some ideas and welcome any feedback.
- Watched more crappy Prime and Netflix movies and shows than I’d care to admit. Normally, I don’t spend much time staring at the large rectangle mounted on the wall. After doing it throughout this past week, I remembered why…it’s like a sedative. Besides, finding something truly engaging amidst all that content is impossible – it seems like you’re more likely than not to be captivated by a trailer or first episode only be pulled down a path of hours of mediocrity.
Back to the inertia – it’s another source of the shack nasties. If I’m being completely honest with myself, it took a ton of effort to combat malaise this past week. It was another glimpse into a seasonal behavior pattern that befalls an unfortunate number of regional inhabitants. A pattern I can empathize with but take every effort to mitigate – you should too.
Looking Forward (20-26-Dec)
Next week is looking better. Unlike this past week, I’m sure at least a few days will lend themselves to a productive outing…maybe most. It all depends on the wind. Forecasted temperatures look like a mix of mild and chilly and it doesn’t look like much precipitation will fall.
I keep telling myself that the pattern we’ve been stuck in for the past 2 weeks is an anomaly – things have to stabilize at some point soon…right? Although I’ve had to cancel nearly a dozen trips in the past 2 weeks, I’m thankful that most of my clients have been flexible enough to reschedule. Although, it’s not the way I wanted to end a banner year, great days are on the horizon.
The silver lining of all this lack of angling lately is that the fish in the system have gone unscathed. When all of us get to fishing again, it’ll be like exploring new territory. January, a month that’s usually slow for business, now looks like it’ll be a great month. Consider this (another vote for optimism), “everything is way behind,” has been the theme for the fall. Carry that forward – the best trout fishing of the season is yet to come. It’s a hypothesis I’m very much looking forward to testing. I hope you’ll join me.
Stay healthy my friends – mentally and physically,