The phrase “time flies” may be cliche, but time, it seems, truly does have wings, and even more-so, accelerates like the dive of a falcon as one gets older. On the eve of my 50th birthday, I recall my mother telling me, “if you think 50 seems old, wait until your oldest child turns 50”. Time’s march is indeed, relentless.
So here we are at the start of 2012 – another year and one in its infancy. And the exciting thing about that is that no matter how old one might be, we all get to plunge into it with a clean slate. I recall a New Year’s party scene from the movie Forrest Gump where a blonde bimbo enthusiastically whispers in Forrest’s ear; “don’t you just love New Year’s – you get another chance to start all over again”…
In my own life, I start every year much the same – spending New Years Day in “seclusion” – or as some in my family would say – in my “cone of silence”…
Free from distractions, I once again eagerly put pen to paper to plan out the year. At least some of that planning is related to fly fishing. The end result is a bucket list of goals.
Way back in 2010, under the magical qualities of a rather high quality dry gin martini, I had enough chutzpah to actually publish those goals. Revisiting them has been more than humbling, to wit:
1) Purchase and set up an 8 weight fly fishing rig (fly rod / reel / line) for Finger Lake and Great Lakes tribs. Accomplished thanks to the fine folks at JP Ross Fly Rods in Utica, NY!
2) Catch the following “firsts” on the fly; a steelhead, lake trout, and a bluefish, striped bass, or weakfish. I did catch several steelhead on a guided outing with NY State Fly Fishing Guide Loren Williams (a post on this trip is forthcoming), however, none of the other species have been caught to date…
3) Begin fly tying – focus on the Picket Pin, Wooly Bugger, and Egg and Worm Patterns. Not even close…
4) Float fish the Susquehanna; a) Binghamton to Vestal Park, b) Vestal Park to Campville, and c) Campville to Owego. I’ve yet to float the river again since Kelly’s Excellent Canoe Adventure. I should get a “pass” on this goal for 2011, given the high river levels in general and the flooding that wiped out the fall smallmouth bass fishing…
5) Practice and improve my casting distance and accuracy. Learn to single haul and double haul. A zippo…
6) Purchase my PA fishing license and explore, fish, and learn PA creeks and rivers. I did purchase the “pee-yay” license in 2010 and did some trout fishing on a few creeks such as the Loyalsock, Muncy, and the South Branch of the Tunkhannock.
7) Learn and use the following knots: Non-Slip Mono Knot, Palomar Knot, Improved Turtle Knot, and Perfection Loop. Learn to tie my own leaders. I have mastered the Non-Slip Mono Knot and Perfection Loop, but need to work on the others…
Overall, a lackluster accounting, and no wonder, as 2011 was not a great year for the Southern Tier Fly Fisher. As will be covered in a future post looking back on the year, water was actually a problem much of the year. Precipitation plagued the region: we ended with close to double the norm for the year.
So what’s a fly fisher to do?
Option 1 – Delete the 2010 goals post.
Option 2 – Forget goals altogether.
Option 3 – Forget 2010 and 2011, rewrite my goals for 2012, and get back in the water.
I noodled these questions with every swill of Hendricks gin and decided to consult literature on the subject. I found a myriad of advice on the internet, and all of it, through the ages, suggested Option 3. Here’s just a sampling:
“We aim above the mark to hit the mark.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose – somehow we win out.” Ronald Reagan
“Lee Wulff was born in Valdez, Alaska on February 10, 1905 and began fishing almost as soon as he could walk. During the rest of his life, until the final day, April 29, 1991, when he died at the controls of his Super Cub airplane, Lee furiously and fearlessly pursued lofty goals in conservation, innovative fly fishing techniques and tackle, habitat protection and fisheries management.” On the life of Lee Wulff…
As a special challenge, I recently set myself the goal of catching an Atlantic salmon of ten pounds or over on a #28 hook… Lee Wulff
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?” Robert Browning
“Without some goal and some effort to reach it, no man can live.” Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky
“In philosophy, it is not the attainment of the goal that matters, it is the things that are met with by the way.”Henry Havelock Ellis
“Hitch your wagon to a star.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I respect the man who knows distinctly what he wishes. The greater part of all mischief in the world arises from the fact that men do not sufficiently understand their own aims. They have undertaken to build a tower, and spend no more labor on the foundation than would be necessary to erect a hut.”John Wolfgang von Goethe
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his own dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau
“Begin with the end in mind.” Stephen Covey
“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” Epictetus
For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning. T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding
Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past. ~Henry Ward Beecher
And so, fellow anglers, I have decided to re-write my goals – possibly pare them down a bit, removing those that occupy that space beyond possibility, replacing them with other goals just within reach. I’ll take those trout rising a little closer and leave the big boys for later on, when my cast is stronger. You’ll see what I’m talking about just around the bend…