I’ve lost all compassion for the fish. Sure, they have a bit of Lactic Acid buildup and a sore lip, but I’m waking up with ailments more painful and more debilitating, while the fish find some hidden refuge to nurse lip and their wounded pride, I have to hobble my way to the coffeepot despite aching back, sore neck, sunburn, barked knuckles, blisters, and strained muscles.
I spent yet another weekend laboring on behalf of the fish and their watery environment, and while humping rocks and timbers into ever increasing mounds and pillars, I thought of past weeks and the rising damage to mine own limbs, and had the temerity to ask myself, “… but is it worth it?”
“Worth it” being less a question than a known constant, but when you have to manually remove your aching fingers from around the coffee cup handle, the metaphysical rumination of the question comes unbidden.
In retrospect, I started working on terraforming a piece of the lake a couple of months ago. As I am limited to about a day a week to work on the project, and while there is little shortage of woody debris and rocks littering the shoreline, it is still a two mile walk to get there, followed by hours of stoop labor carrying rocks, and another two miles back to parking area.
The 100 degree weather commensurate with a drought being merely a bonus.
That first weekend ended with sanded fingertips, what with all the grit and wet rocks slipping from my grasp. The following week it was work gloves to protect those precious fly tying fingers, but something I’d had for breakfast forced me to wobble back to the car dizzy and out of it.
With October came the winter parking area closure, which added an extra two miles to the hike round trip. That weekend ended with me dragging myself back to the car just prior to passing a kidney stone, so all the suffering endured during the ride home was a preamble to the welcome tinkle of stone colliding with porcelain.
I did manage to complete three 30’ walls of rock, complete with timbers and ancillary connected debris – designed to give bait fish a hidey hole, and allow prowling bass to secret themselves in ambush. The timber and reclaimed Christmas trees I’ve imbedded in the rock work give me the opportunity to collect all manner of free fishing lures, which I consider payment from you fellows for all the sweat equity I put into the area.
Now that we’ve seen the temperatures start lower and have seen our first real rain, most of the lake is fishless. Bass slide deeper as the shallow water cools, and fishing is less of an option.
Then again, a 1/0 heavily weighted Olive Minnow, can occasionally yield something attempting to pack on the pounds prior to snoring all Winter. This is the biggest bass I’ve landed on a fly this year, somewhere between six and seven pounds.
… and tomorrow at work, when I get up out of my chair and feel every spot of soreness in my pudgy deskbound frame – I’ll know this SOB is sulking with his sore lip, while I move gazelle-like to the water cooler to add another pound to the re-telling.
Is it worth it? Silly question …