Yesterday, I turned 40. This is no great feat, mind you, as it is inevitably what comes after 39 and all the rest. Still I can't help but say to myself in quiet moments, "Wow. I made it." Whatever the hell that means.
My wife, amazing as she is, threw me a surprise party a couple of Saturdays ago in which about 100 of my closest friends and family attended. There was a band and bbq food and booze and cigars and a whole lot of laughter and love. A whole lot. So began the celebration coupled with a lot of reflection. "Wow. I made it."
I've never been much for new things. I don't know if this is a by-product of being one of nine children (number 8 to be exact) or if I'm just not all too amused by shiny, out of the package...stuff. Might be a bit of both. As you know if you've read this blog before, I have been using my late father's (can one still use the term "late" if the person they are referring to is gone well over 20 years? How about very late?) fly fishing setups since he passed. The waders have leaks in more places than did the Nixon administration and the 5 weight rod is just about finished. It's not yet, but just about. So, a party, some friends and family, and a whole lot of Orvis gift cards. Who am I kidding? I love shiny new stuff.
I am so happy to report that I have, thanks to said friends and family, acquired a whole new outfit for the fly side of this little fishing hobby of mine. I went down to Orvis yesterday and picked up a nine foot, five weight, mid flex Access fly fishing rod coupled with the Access mid-arbor reel with backing and line and all of the fine fixins. I also acquired Orvis' new line of waders called the Silver Sonic Waders. Talk about snazzy. The name says it all. Not only do they keep you dry but you can hover over the water in them by pressing a button on the suspenders that vents a force field of air through the sole of the boots. Not really. But the name sure sounds like they would.
Not only did I attain this fantastic new gear, I actually got to use it today.
It was a fine day on the East Branch of the Croton River. I spent quite a bit of time there this afternoon and into the evening. I fished nymphs and dries, emergers and streamers. I even had a bit of luck. The new rod yielded me a nice 12 inch Brown within the first five minutes of my arrival. Soon after I hooked and lost another decent fish. Upon moving downstream, I decided to "play" with the small Bluegills for a good half an hour as they were having fun pretending to be trout while rising to my Elk Hair Caddis fly. At one point I had the dry caddis on and fished two dropper nymphs below that. A Prince Nymph and a tiny Hare's Ear. Oddly enough I managed a trout on all three of these flies within the next hour. I lost a solid 14 inch or so Rainbow and then swiftly netted his little brother. It was a day full of action and fun. There was a nice break at Trestle Pool with two Captain Lawrence Pale Ales and a decent cigar while the sun sleeked its way through the solid green cloak of leaves. "Wow, " I thought, "I made it."
Not that those who made it happen for me necessarily read this blog but I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to you all for sharing in the passage of another decade with me. And thanks for my shiny new fantastic toys.
This is 40 and I like it very much.