Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Last Minute Contemplations

Shortly before midnight I’m anxiously waiting to board a red-eye flight that will depart a little before one in the morning, eventually transporting me to warmer climates. Although personally partial to the cold, the Silver King would find the weather of my home state rather uninhabitable most months, even though Utah has an infamous saltwater landmark. It snowed on this day. In the Rockies, such is not an uncommon occurrence for May and makes Key’s weather rather inviting. This day’s flurries ideally suite the west’s spring mayfly hatches, yet lends a stark contrast to the emerald flats and tropical temperatures where tarpon call home.

I inventory my gear before boarding, as if at this juncture it’s going to do much good. Typically such gyrations are contemplated well in advance, yet circumstances prohibited such preparedness. My attics provide a source of entertainment for my fellow passengers. Given their expressions I wouldn’t be surprised to find a TSA agent or two sauntering my way to further inspect my assembled arsenal given the neurosis that now permeates our society. God knows my gear appears far more hostile than the tube of toothpaste the agents confiscated from me earlier. Shaking my head, they were kind enough to let me keep my razor. Go figure!

Normally, a row of freshly tied flies adorns an area above my fly tying table affectionately known as the Flight Deck. Those neatly assembled patterns serve as a visual reflection of my readiness. Only a handful hung on the Deck when time came to pack. A bag of hand tied leaders neatly labeled normally accompanies the selection of newly tied creations. All I managed was to purchase the hard mono needed to build them. Fortunately I’ll have several days to prepare before that first cast is made.

Then there’s that preparation that accompanies the first cast. Either the previous year or the one prior to our Captain elaborated on the complexities part time tarpon anglers are confronted with, that would be me. Out of respect, knowing the similar challenges a boat Captain faces when fishing for these piscatorial giants, normally there’s time appropriated to re-familiarize myself with my bigger sticks. It’s not that the practice doesn’t help, you simply can’t replicate the gyrating conditions that flats fishing confronts one with: tides, wind, moving boats, moving fish. For some reason the ducks and geese used to impersonate the Silver King’s habits don’t quite assimilate the real deal.

Just having the opportunity to fish for theses giants creates a level of significant contentment. There are so many variables that contrive to ones fortunes when fishing for migratory fish. Putting the variables into a simpler context I’ve come to the realization that “you get what you get when you get there”. It’s no more complicated than that. My mantra flashes briefly through my cranium while rummaging through my carry-on having little effect on the anxiety spawned by my lack of preparation.

Shortly after midnight the loudspeaker projects a shrill voice alerting most from their stupor, announcing the initial boarding of the flight. My quick survey shows nothing critical has been left behind. Given the lack of efficiency in most airlines there’s a 50/50 chance my bag will even arrive at my final destination. Fortunately you can travel with most of the items that are critical to your fishing trip: rod, reel, flies and a well traveled coffee cup. Making my way down the gangway I take comfort in that notion.