On to More Interesting Fly Things – The Winter Solstice

| December 21, 2009

It’s about time to move on from the Christmas Holiday Cheer and fly fishing gift giving theme, and back to things closer to the core of why Texas Fly Caster exists – fly fishing, music, food and “Culture on the Skids”.

The compilation of new music continues here at a frantic pace, and with the help of the amazing web site Lala.com, this year may be one that will keep my ears busy until the last seconds before post time. If you haven’t checked out Lala, be sure and head that way for free music listening. I’ve managed to bump some bands out of the top ten by listening there before buying. Bands that almost made this year’s cut are very interesting, but just not quite what I think the fly fishing audience is after. They include Cracker “Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey”, Justin Townes Earl “Midnight at the Movies”, and a band named Lucero “132 Overton Park”. These releases would easily make my “Top 20”, nearly any fly fisher’s top 20, but this year’s finalists find me in the same gravitational pull of artists from years past – with a few exceptions.

Meanwhile, if you have a CostCo near your casa, and find yourself on the pilgrimage for the typical Christmas feast, make sure to roll your oversize cart (or flatbed) over to the beer and wine section and grab a case of the Widmer varietals – Hefeweisen, Broken Halo IPA, Drop Top Amber Ale and the Drifter Pale Ale. You can thank me later.

On the food front, it looks like some planked salmon is headed for the grill, and I am going to make a first attempt at deep frying a turkey later this week. All I have ever heard is that for all the work of deep frying, you want to maximize the opportunity of hot grease by the gallon – so if anyone is in range and wants to dump their turkey in the caldron, be sure to get in line. Contact me for more details.

The winter doldrums are on the typical easy spots for the satiation of the fly addiction. Therefore, we move post haste to “Plans B” plural, because it just wouldn’t be smart to have one “plan” B. We leave behind the vaunted common carp, whose winter metabolism slows to the point that if you see one, and actually catch one, it’s a whole lot like catching a waterlogged piece of chimanea-sized firewood. The largemouth have moved away from the places we expected them most, and their colors fade into flat hues like those of a winter landscape. We find ourselves at the nadir for North Texas fly fishing, the winter solstice. Message boards twinkle with the occasional fish find, but lookers, seekers and lurkers dominate the silent desperate search for spring in the heart of winter.

The winter solstice marks the low point, and the point where optimism can justifiably begin to stir – like a zygote getting it’s first pulse of mother’s manna. It’s not over, these dark days of cold, and the fish we rely on do not mystically begin to jump in the boat. This is when the darkness equals the light, and then begins to overtake it, the momentary cosmic yin and yang. It’s actually when darkness dominates light, and the shortest day gives way to light with heat stretched behind on a bungee cord.

As December ends, and January comes along with February, we look for other means to a fish on the ends of our lines. We dig through the internet (if you aren’t a TFC reader) for Oklahoma and Texas trout stocking schedules. We watch for stripers from the comfort of our computer screens, and send nice Christmas cards to friends that own boats – just to let them know we are thinking about them (not their boats of course). We plan and plot to go coastal for rutting reds of bullish proportions, be it Louisiana or Texas, and when no one’s looking, we even sample the stockers at places like the Blue River, Beaver’s Bend and heck, even South Lakes pond in Denton, Texas. We adapt because, here in North Texas we really don’t know how long winter will last. It will probably be 70 degrees here today, and we have had a foot of snow in Marches past.

Perhaps we also lament goals set and not met during the calendar year that is about to flip – the professional, personal and fish goals in a proportional and sane order from most to least. With one fish record to my credit for 2009, it would be a stretch to call this year the year of the “full on records assault”, and the one fish that eludes me (of the two I wanted to catch this year) is the abundant (elsewhere) smallmouth bass. And you would be amazed at how difficult it is to find a witness to a record, when you are fishing alone, knee deep in muck in the middle of nowhere. The point of diminishing returns on record efforts is quickly and easily reached (usually as soon as they stretch the Boga) – “witness” the gar I caught earlier this year (that I misidentified) that would have nearly tripled the state fly rod record. This year is really more about survival outside fly fishing than anything else. Thriving is currently out of the question.

Much later, we can go into what 2010 holds of interest to readers of TFC, but we will certainly be building on the momentum gained from the late fall 2009 redesign of the site. With no further ado, it is again time to roll out the annual presentation of Liam’s song – “All I Want for Christmas”.

Happy solstice day. Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays!

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Category: Culture on the Skids, Eating and Drinking, Fishing Reports, Music, North Texas

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

Comments (3)

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  1. youknowyasista says:

    I couldn’t get past minute 2:40 on Liam’s, uh, dirge…should I press on?

  2. shannon says:

    Yup. Just plain stupid on the whole day length thing. That’s what I get for starting that post so early in the coffee. Thanks for catching that my dedicated reader. December 21 was the absolute shortest day in the northern hemisphere when darkness rules the day.

    The top 10 will come out after Christmas and in separate entries.

    SD

  3. Cindy says:

    so when does the top ten come out?