It’s the first of November and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve fished since August. Between moving to Wyoming and starting a new job, I’ve found myself without my usual spare time. This situation is painfully ironic, because I swore up and down that I’d never turn into the guy who was too busy to fish.
But here I am. Too busy to go fishing.
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In what I fear is an act of growing up, I’ve come to terms with missing out on fishing time. Two years ago if you’d asked me how I’d feel about spending only four days on the water between August and November, I’d have laughed because it wasn’t possible.
It’s frightening how quickly circumstances shift.
Two years ago, the idea of being married wasn’t on my radar. I had my eye on a new truck. Not as a replacement for my current ironman 5-speed 2.7-liter Tacoma with over 230,000 miles. I’ll never replace that truck. I saw the need for a full-size pickup with room for more than one fishing buddy, though, which is why I started shopping for another truck.
Fast-forward, and my truck shopping has new meaning.
Can I fit a car seat back there?
Will my wife enjoy driving it?
Questions I honestly believed I’d never ask are now top-of-mind. My wife and I aren’t expecting kids anytime soon, but we reckon our next vehicle purchase should have them in mind. Unless I find an unbelievable deal on a 1963 Corvette. Then all bets are off. I know a Corvette isn’t a practical fishing vehicle, although there are more paved parking lots next to good trout rivers these days than you’d expect, and they’re often full of vehicles that don’t quite fit in. The Lamborghini SUV I parked next to at a fisherman’s access on the Provo River a few years ago comes to mind. Spotting the driver wasn’t hard; I just looked for the guy in the most expensive gear who appeared the most overwhelmed.
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I made plenty of jokes about the guy to myself and my buddy Ryan McCullough, who was out in Utah so we could spend the week together fishing. In hindsight, though, I think I have more in common with the Lamborghini driver than I’d like to admit.
For starters, I bet we both sat inside and watched the leaves change this year. Fall came quickly to my corner of the Rockies. I would’ve completely missed the colors if it weren’t for two clients calling to book last-minute guide trips. They got me on the water for the last of my free time before hunting season kicked off. Lamborghini Guy probably made one last hurrah on the water too, and I bet we both left wondering what was so important that we hadn’t been on the water in weeks. I’ve found that you’ll always find reasons to not go fishing, but you only need a single flimsy one to topple the sturdy excuses and free up, at least, an afternoon.
I could argue that someone with the cash to drop on what Lamborghini calls “the first super sport utility vehicle in the world” (whatever that means) has the means to fish whenever he pleases, but it’s just as likely he’s beholden to at least 80 hours of wearing a suit and tie and sitting through meeting after meeting. Far more people with vehicles like that fall into the latter category than the former.
If Lamborghini Guy and I have anything in common – aside from fly fishing – it’s likely that we both feel trapped in a world that discourages bohemian living, so we grasp at any opportunity to prove that we’re not just another working schlub.
November will fly past before I have time to think, taking hunting season and the last great fishing of the year along with it. Lamborghini Guy and me will probably both be sitting at our respective family dinners during the holidays, looking at Instagram photos of our friends out fishing, wondering how we ended up talking inflation and local politics over the same food we eat at every family get-together.
That’s not to denigrate family time. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate that more than any fishing trip. Or, more accurately, I think I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be fully content as fishing season draws to a close. Yes, I’ll still fish plenty during the winter, savoring the lack of crowds and the unpressured fish, pretending that losing feeling in my extremities isn’t uncomfortable. But winter fishing is a different game, one where you never quite feel as if you’re actually catching fish so much as they’re likely being caught just to encourage you to leave.
The only certainty is change, and while I certainly haven’t fished as much as I would’ve liked this past season, I know next year won’t be the same. It might be worse, but there’s just as good a chance it’ll be two times better.
Spencer Durrant is a fly fishing writer, guide, and bamboo rod builder from Utah. He runs the Utah Fly Fishing Company, is the News Editor for MidCurrent, and a regular columnist for Hatch Magazine. Connect with Spencer on Instagram/Twitter, @Spencer_Durrant.