“You don’t like to have fun Daddy. You just like to fish.”
If all goes according to plan, Saturday morning I should be near Beaufort, SC shooting ducks on a private, seldom to never hunted pond at sunrise and chasing redfish and speckled trout with my fly rod the rest of the day.
The weather north of where I’ll be will be cold, windy and miserable which should push the ducks down. The temperature in Beaufort is supposed to be in the mid sixties, the sun is supposed to shine and the wind isn’t supposed to blow too hard.
On paper this should be a great day.
I don’t know how this will work out in reality.
See, when it comes to out-of-town fishing/hunting trips I’m notoriously unlucky. Usually I don’t even get to the destination. And on those rare occasions that I do, things always seem off enough that the locals are commenting on it.
This particular trip seems like it’s going to work out though.
Of course my wife was complaining about a sore throat this morning.
And the three year-old has been extra whiny today for some unknown reason.
And the baby has been crying all morning because he seems to be teething or something.
And it’s predicted to start sleeting/snowing here about the time I should be leaving tomorrow…
So I’ve got this big fishing trip planed for the lower Keys coming up the first of April and I’ve found myself becoming pretty much obsessed with all things fishy from the Keys. I’ve been studying maps and charts, watching videos, reading books, surfing the internet and trying to tie flies.
The reason I’m only trying to tie flies is because I seem to be one material away from every pattern I want to tie; be it the proper color thread, fur or feather, or proper size eye or hook. And I won’t be able to re-up on materials of any kind until after Christmas due to kids being terribly expensive to shop for.
Man do I wish Santa was real.
Every man has one…
I’ve been avoiding posting anything lately due to the old “if you don’t have anything good to say…” adage, but I remembered that I gave myself the moniker The Agitated Angler, not the Happy Fun-time Always Say Something Positive Angler. So this post is going to be nothing but a married, over-weight, middle class, white American male, in his mid-thirties, bitching about how bad his life sucks.
If you don’t read past this point I won’t blame you. Being somewhat of a liberal I realize the ridiculousness of someone like myself complaining about his lot in life when there’s the horrible plight of the who ever, where ever. But you know what? Fuck it. If I can’t bitch to strangers over the internet, who can I bitch to?
If you’ve managed to read this far without rolling your eyes, clicking off my site and looking for something useful to read, you may be asking yourself, “Agitated, why do you seem so agitated?” Well, like most things in my life it revolves around fishing and family. Or more specifically the lack of fishing and maybe too much contact with family.
It wasn’t all that long ago that in my life that I was the guy who had a line in the water at least two days a week. I didn’t need to look at a tide chart to tell you when grass would be flooded or when the mud flats would be dry, I knew the spots, and I could tell you what species a fish was just by the way it fought.
Now? Well, now I’m lucky to go fishing once a month. Hell, I haven’t caught a decent fish since June. And it’s not for my lack of trying.
See, I keep planing fishing trips, but things just keep happening.
The latest was (not)fishing the mystery river I wrote about here. I was told there was a river within walking distance of the cabin my friends and I were staying at for my buddy’s bachelor party. The “river” was little more than a glorified ditch and it was posted.
Okay, no big deal, I had a really good time anyway and found out that trout fishing could be had within a couple of hours of my home. So when I returned from said trip I made plans to head back up that way later in the week all by my lonesome and actually get some fishing done. My wife was totally cool with that. Her sister was down from New York to help with the kids and new baby, so a fishing day would be no problem. I tied up some more flies (because you never have enough flies), made sure I still had all my gear in order and my sister-in-law gets sick.
Terribly sick. Hacking, snotty nose, running a fever, stay the hell away from my two-week old baby kind of sick.
And that was the death of that fishing trip.
Remember, this was just the latest fishing trip that never happened. I won’t get into the long list of failed missions but let’s just say there have been a lot.
Then there’s the fishing related activities that I haven’t been able to do. I was planning on joining a fly fishing club but the birth of my newest addition has kept me from going to the meetings and a complicated set of problems involving the IRS is keeping me from going to a fly fishing show this weekend in Raleigh, NC.
I know that things could be much, much worse in my life but damn it, I want to go fishing. No, I need to go fishing. It has become a necessity for my sanity and for the safety of my family that I go out and try to catch some fish soon. I count myself lucky that I’m not at the point that this whole post isn’t me repeatedly writing “All children and no fishing makes a very agitated angler”.
Oh, and the very worst part? The thing that’s really killing me? If I have the shack nasties this bad in up-state South Carolina, my dreams of living in Alaska are dead.
I’m sitting here holding a sleeping baby with one hand and typing with the other thinking about how much I remind myself of a dead deer lying on the side of the road; I can’t move, I’m starting to stink and I pretty sure I’m starting to noticeably bloat.
The deer at least has the light of the sun to sit and fester in. I only have the sickly glow of this computer screen to light my slow decomposition.
Sorry. I think the lack of both sleep and outside stimulation has started to get to me.
Tomorrow though, I leave for the fishing trip/bachelor party I recently wrote about.
I probably won’t get any extra sleep. And I may at some point still have to hold someone who is likely to cry and/or puke at any given moment. And it’s suppose to rain the whole time.
But you know what? I’ll be surrounded by good friends, I have a raincoat, a box of streamers, a case of nice beer, a bottle of bourbon and none of my children will be within a hundred miles of me.
If I can’t turn that into a good time I might as well throw in the ol’ proverbial towel…
With the recent birth of my third son I have found myself spending more and more time trying to imagine what the future will hold for my boys.
In a perfect world the family and I would relocate back to the coast in a few years, maybe back to the South Carolina lowcountry, maybe the lower Keys, I don’t know. Wherever it is, we’ll be close to my beloved saltwater again. There the boys will grow up chasing fish with me and work on becoming what the Hawaiians refer to as “watermen”; people who are equally proficient at all ocean related activities such as swimming, paddling, fishing, surfing, diving, ect..
With any luck the oldest will continue to do well in school, graduate early, go on to a good college and then to law school so he can become a great defense attorney, make tons of money and use his skills to keep his two younger brothers, one a talented but slightly wild chef that has made his reputation by perfecting Thai/lowcountry fusion and the other the best and most famous flats guide in the keys, out of the occasional trouble that they are bound to get into. As they all get older they’ll one by one settle down, get married and have numerous children of their own to carry on the family name (Which, I want to point out, is by far the most important thing they can do with their lives due to the fact that I myself am the only son of an only son, have a fairly unusual last name and was the last of my line up until seven years ago, so breed boys, breed!).
But, as cliché as it sounds, what I truly want for my children is for them to grow up healthy and happy. Realistically, I know that events turning out the way I stated above are about as likely as catching a record tarpon and having my wife agree to a three-way with an available and willing Scarlett Johansson all on the same day. It’s just not going to happen.
This doesn’t keep me from trying to subtly encourage my boys to do my bidding though…