The world is going through one of the greatest pandemics of our lifetime. The Covid-19 virus has spread globally, and citizens everywhere are experiencing different levels of isolation. The new buzz word is “social distancing” and is a nice way of saying to avoid everyone. You can’t put on the television or go online without seeing non-stop updates on the virus that are enough to instill fear in anxiety in us all. The media machine is hyping up the fear like a high school pep rally before a big game. Now I am not going to downplay the importance that we all do our part to stop the spread and flatten the curve. This is a very serious business. However, I encourage you to choose your sources wisely and limit your time focusing on the constant updates.
It is too easy to get sucked into the vortex of media hype and be overwhelmed with feelings of dread and despair. Instead, we should use this time to focus on important things like family. We should do some of the things we never seem to have time to get done. Some of us are working remotely and trying to keep our jobs and businesses above water. Inevitably this leads to a lot of time at home and some more free time as well. So, take a long walk with the family and don't forget to bring the dog. Get outside in areas that you can keep your social distance. Clean out the garage or get the yard ready for spring and summer. This pandemic will come to an end and life will return to normal.
As a fly angler, I have been thinking of things to do to distract myself and turn off the noise. As most anglers will agree fly fishing can be a great therapeutic activity. The most obvious activity is to get out there and fish. In the northeast, temperatures are warming up and the thaw has begun. The waters will be heating up accordingly. The stocking has begun almost everywhere. But what if you can’t get to the water? Well, there are plenty of things to do at home to pass the time.
How about organizing your gear? We all like to put that off during the season. Start by organizing your fly box or boxes. Time to put your fly selection in a more usable order so when do get out on the water your spending less time looking for that fly.
Speaking of flies. How is your supply? Do you need to order more? Better yet tie your own. If your new or not very good at fly tying, now might be a good time to sit down and practice. Fly tying can be frustrating to some but if you take your time and go slowly, you might find it relaxing. Search Youtube for some tying videos and pause it each step of the way. That’s how I do it. If you stick with it, you will find that time passes quickly, and it gets easier. Besides, what is more, satisfying than catching a fish on a fly that you tied?
Are your waders and boots in tip-top shape? It might be time to replace the laces in your boots before they snap in the field. Do you have a leak in your waders? Minor repairs now can save you time, money and heartache. Or maybe you just want to clean and deodorize them. Passengers in your vehicle will thank you.
Have you been watching the latest fly fishing documentaries and movies? There are so many good ones out there and some can be watched or streamed for free. Here are my recommendations, not in any particular order.
Live the stream: the story of Joe Humphries. I highly recommend this one. Joe is an icon in fly fishing and a lovable character as well. See the description below..........“Live The Stream is the inspiring life story of Pennsylvania’s fly fishing legend, Joe Humphreys: a man who was born to fly fish, lives to teach, and strives to pass on a respect for our local waters. A visually stunning film, anyone with a pulse can appreciate Joe’s contagious spirit and, at 86-years-young, trout streams are his fountains of youth. This is an emotion-packed adventure and Joe will catch your heart in this powerful tale of tenacity, life and love”.
Journey On by Tight Loops Fly (Aimee and Chase Bartee). Aimee and Chase are living the life many anglers daydream of living. They have made several great films. I would start with Journey On and then binge the rest of their work. See the description below.........."In the summer of 2015, filmmakers Aimee Savard and Chase Bartee packed up their belongings, moved into their 1985 Volkswagen Westfalia, and left their home in Massachusetts. The goal? To make their way to Montana, and spend as much time as humanly possible exploring, fly fishing, and documenting their travels. Living in an eighty square foot van would pose its challenges. But the lessons learned and experiences gained over the next three and a half months would set events into motion that would change their lives forever."
True North by Wild Fly Productions. Wild Fly Productions is a group of young dudes from North Carolina that are using technology to document their fishing trips. Their films are both inspiring and entertaining. True North is about their annual trip to Maine and a day trip over to the Great North Woods of New Hampshire. Watch this and try not to binge-watch the rest of their work.
There are plenty more good films to watch so feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below.
What about reading materials? If you’re like me then a good book is a great way to pass the time when you can’t get to the water. Normally I do a lot of reading about fly fishing when winter comes to New England. Now is a great time to lose yourself in a good book and quiet the noise on television and social media. Below are recommendations that I have read recently and or is on my to-do list. Again, not in any particular order…
A Fly Rod of Your Own by John Gierach
Most of you have heard about the writings of John Gierach. John is a storyteller we can all relate to with his everyman style, sense of humor and keen observations. Trout Bum is one of my favorite books by John. You can’t go wrong with one of his books. Definitely my favorite angling author. What Peter Egan is to motorcycles, Gierach is to fly fishing. So, I can't wait to dive into this book.
Fly-Tying by Helen Shaw
Helen Shaw is one of the greatest fly tying instructors of all time. This book is so good that it has been through several printings. Pick up a copy and learn from the best. Forget the internet for a quick minute and check out this book.
Squaretail by Bob Mallard
Bob Mallard is an icon in New England. I can’t wait to dig into this book about wild brook trout. But don’t take my word for it… “If there is a finer trout angler than Bob Mallard, I have not encountered one. Nor have I encountered anyone who knows more about wild brook trout and where to find them.” -Ted Williams
So there you have it. These are my suggestions to help you get through the quarantine. A small list that will hopefully provide you with a needed distraction. Something to quiet the noise and think about something else besides the covid-19 pandemic. Share this list with your buddies and form your own suggestions or lists. But most of all stay positive and know that we will reach the end of this crisis and have better days ahead.
See you on the stream