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Ronan's report

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

By now, the four people who read my FPs regularly (note that this has been upgraded from two after a great outpouring of support for last weeks FP) know that in addition to writing for Sexyloops and "STEEL", I also keep my own personal fishing log.

I started it back in 1998 and it was my original version of writing about fishing. Hatch charts, fun stories, sketches and recipes of fly patterns, and directions to get to and from places to fish. At one point not many years ago I was fishing a whole lot, and the log got big enough to fill a few volumes. Now I'm fishing less (though still a lot, fortunately) but probably writing more, both because I feel like I'm learning more things worth writing down and also because I just like writing. Data and words for the sake of data and words.

About a year ago, though, I embarked on an accidental experiment of sorts in my fishing log. Basically, I got to procrastinating, and instead of penning entries shortly after a fishing excursion, I found myself just jotting down notes on scraps of paper, maps, and fast food wrappers and stashing them in a box. Once I got behind, it was easier to get farther behind, and when I finally realized it, I was sitting on over a years worth of notes waiting to be "officially" logged.

Aside from being intimidating (like I said, I still fish a a lot), the stack of notes and my self imposed writing assignment forced me to assess my fishing in a different way than I have before. Never before had I tried to digest an entire years angling at once. But all the notes were there, and a couple months ago, around the last time I actually went fishing, I read through them all and started logging them. I'm nowhere near done, but I have promised myself I will be before summer. From the last summer steelhead and the few winter steelhead of 2009 on through 2010 with local warmwater fishing, trips to Baja, New Orleans, Montana, and a truly wonderful wonderful and memorable summer steelhead season, it was interesting to think of it all at once and try to see how it all fits together.

To me, the fun of fishing is more about figuring out how to catch fish and mastering those methods than it is about actually catching them, even though those things go hand in hand. And my notes reveal a few discoveries that my fishing partners and I made. They also refute a couple of things we "figured out" in years past. There are new buckets discovered on old favorite waters and new waters explored for the first time. It's fun to see how a lifestyle that is at least in part dedicated to fishing as much as possible/enjoyable deals with the schedule constraints of everyday life. A birthday party in town kept me from steelhead camp but put me on a river down south that I've never floated before with a person I've never fished with before but will absolutely fish with again. Blown out rivers during the annual steelhead week forced a change of plans and the thrill of a very cool "new" fishery and some great characters out farther to the east.

Right now, between tying flies in the shop, working, and skiing, I'm able to escape back in time by writing about this past year. And I'm looking forward to it this weekend. I know when I sit down with the music on and a fresh page in the log that I'll be somewhere between Yellowstone and steelhead camp, and that's never a bad place to be.

Take Care and Fish On,

Pic Of Day

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