Gary Meyer | Tuesday, 8 September 2020

It has been a 4-day weekend for me. Today (Monday) is a US holiday and as such I have not gone anywhere near the water. I always abstain on holiday weekends. And, also per usual after a long fishless weekend, I almost forgot that I needed to write something.

I am sitting on my porch enjoying an almost imperceptible but welcome change in the weather. If you pay attention, it is apparent now that the sun is rising almost due east at my latitude. Soon, or at least in about two weeks it will be on the equator, and after that the sun’s rays will become more obtuse. It seems like all the South Florida critters, including the fish, recognize this change… and celebrate! I know I will. This summer has been a bastard.

While I did not fish, I did get in at least two practice sessions each day. Until recently the over-head sun was just too strong during the day to even enjoy some practice, so I only cast in the evenings. But this weekend, aided by tropical cloud cover, occasional rain, and Saharan dust, the days were comfortable enough for middle of the day casting. I even tied some flies! My tying table is just inside my porch and, without air conditioning it was impossible to sit down to tie more than one fly at a time. June through August, this year, was not only mean, it bordered on angry.


I won’t bore y’all with the Nobel prize worthy breakthroughs I uncovered during these last four days of practicing (not). Besides, there is some very heady info on the board these days, which attract me much like the poor moth to a flame. I really like to try to understand it, but, invariably, all it does is make me wish I had stayed the technical course back when I was in college. Alas, I did not, or only barely, but I would not trade the other “education” I did receive. And, even if I could understand all the technical jargon, I’m afraid it would all be for not since when I have a flyrod in my hands I simply cast by feel.


So, instead, lets talk about a different thread that has appeared – the one about Grog. As I sit here typing, there are two rocks glasses at hand. One has my “every day pour” (EDP), which is a 12-year-old elegant bourbon by the name of Elijah Craig. In the other is another: Knob Creek. Both bottles were just purchased a few hours ago. The EC I buy in the large bottles, the Knob, like most others, I only purchase small bottles. I just realize as I type this that I have not tasted Knob for over 16 years. It was my stepson’s favorite, and the last time I drank it was at his wake.


The EC is just a wonderfully balanced booze. It is pleasant to the nose, and it can be detected at the tip of the tongue, and from there enjoyed all the way down. The Knob Creek (small batch) has about the same color but is a bit lighter on the nose. On the sip, it is much brighter on the tip of the tongue, and still quite pleasant after the swallow. It is complex and well balanced… but to my taste it does not measure up to EC, which just has a more robust character. Don’t get me wrong… if someone offered me some Knob Creek I would not turn it down. It is much better than a lot of the other bourbons out there.


When the Knob is finished, the bottle would normally go up on the shelf above the bar with the empties of thirty odd other bourbon brands that remind me that I have tried them. This one will not since there is already one up there. I had recently read on-line that some sommelier rated it highest of a couple dozen he had recently reviewed. So I thought I would remind myself and see if I agreed with the “expert”.


And, that gets me back to flycasting. I am neither a sommelier of bourbons, nor am I a flycasting mathematician. I cannot define the mixture of flavor essences in my hooch, nor can I use calculus to explain the acceleration of the flyline at the top of the loop.


But, I was brought up with both since childhood. Did you know that a proper Southern gentleman drinks bourbon? (Wild Turkey, btw). And it is properly enjoyed neat with a water back! That is what I was taught.


When I asked my Uncle Wiley, what those other bottles in the back were, he said that they were blended Canadian whisky for “Yankees” who did not know what was good. And, when I asked dear old Uncle Wiley who drank the bottles labeled as Rum, he replied, “Scoundrels!”


Unfortunately, my flycasting education was not quite so colorful. I was taught to just put the fly right next to the Lillypad.