If you’re like me, a cold messes with your head before it infects it. You can feel it coming on. All of a sudden there’s a streak of discomfort with every other swallow. There’s pressure on the lungs and behind the eyes.
So you ask yourself, “Is this day one?” Or did you miss symptoms and is it really day two? Will tomorrow be a top-10 day of misery? Or is this a weakened version of what everyone else has and within half a day, assuming there is a good night’s sleep, it’s gone as fast as it came?
Right now it’s Sunday night and I’m nervous. At about 3 p.m. Saturday I felt it. I thought today I’d wake up and I’d be in the throes of the flu, or bronchitis, or Ebola or whatever was attacking my system, but I wasn’t. And though I still felt a viral pummeling was imminent, I went fishing anyway because nothing fends off respiratory illness like standing in cold water, breathing in cold damp mist, right?
It was warm when I parked my car just up the road from where two anglers were in no hurry rigging up. There were four other trucks there other than ours, but it didn’t seem to worry these two.
One had the look of a guide. He was decked out in a new pair of Redington Sonic-Pro zip-down waders that retail at $379. I asked him about the Galvan reel ($360) he had on what looked like a G-Loomis four- or five-weight.
I had a Galvan given to me. It changed my life, as much as a fly reel can change a life.
The guy also had an Orvis rod paired with a Sage Click reel which made for a combo worth close to $800. All that investment aside, this dude looked like he knew what he was doing. I needed to beat him to the water or there’d be no fish left. After discussing the latest trout bites, gear and exchanging angling courtesies, I walked quickly down the trail toward the spot I had enjoyed good luck Saturday morning.
Unbelievably, no one was there. It was just me, the rock and a ridiculous amount of trout. The sun had yet to creep over the steep rocks behind me so it was cold and after handing the wet line and releasing trout into the crisp water my thumb function dropped considerably. The bite was consistent and in some stretches outstanding, all from the same rock.
I’d go 10-15 drifts without a hit, then get four hook-ups in six casts. Four different times during those short dry spells I contemplated leaving. The cold wet air forced coughs if I let too much of it in. I had caught a bunch of fish and there was a guy up stream that was politely waiting for me to vacate my spot, not to mention my thumbs felt like they were shot with Novocain, but then a fish would hit my pheasant tail. I’d fight the fish out of the current and under low branches to a nice mossy landing spot then suddenly forget about the consequences of subjecting my body to exertion in these elements. The only elements I cared about involve my pheasant tails, and trout ready to bite.
I finally pulled myself from the river at around one, went home, took a nap, woke up, won $40 at the Agostini Super Bowl party, went back home, showered, now here I am.
I’ve set aside nine and a half hours to sleep, but I might spend it all coughing up phlegm that resembles cooked cauliflower, then getting so frustrated with being sick I can’t relax enough to get to sleep.
No matter what happens tonight, or how I wake up Monday, there is no doubt in my mind, those trout were worth it.
(Wednesday morning postscript – I’m sick, but still pretty sure it was worth it)