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For those sad souls who can’t get the angling monkey off their backs and have chosen to live well above the seasonal freezing line, winter can easily slide into a cornucopia spilling over with bountiful excuses. Much like the traveling charlatan preacher for whom the mind is willing but the flesh is weak – we want to fish, but all that whiteness, especially when it’s traveling horizontally past the window, is a daunting thing.


Did you ever consider the fact that water is the only known substance which actually expands when it freezes? This seems like as good an explanation as any for that anxious claustrophobia that dogs us through the short days.

Better to reorganize my tying area in some sort of pre-emptive foreplay to actually getting around to tying. But hell, it’s only January and there’s still plenty of time for tying before the season starts…

Better to go back and re-read those favorite chapters from Leeson’s book…

Better to stay on the couch, conducting serious research into which Mariko Izumi episode gets me more warm and tingly than a bottle of good single malt (pretty sure it’s the Halloween epsiode with the nurse’s outfit)…

Better to join all the other cranky bastards, feeling that same un-scratchable itch, duking it out over stupid shit on the interwebs…


I resolved long ago to never offer, or be satisfied with, excuses for not going fishing – lacking a valid reason I would just go, and do everything I can to keep to a minimum those times when something truly stands in the way. Unlike a long list of decisions in my life, I’ve never regretted this one.

But the excuses for not going fishing aren’t what weigh on me at the moment, for I have the only one that truly carries weight – it’s well below freezing, and no amount chapstick in my guides, or anti-freeze on my line will be enough to change the fact that after one cast, my line speed will be averaging 0 mph. Valid by anyone’s definition, excluding the delusionally insane.

No, my problem this winter is just the opposite – I’m not getting a damn thing done, and I can’t even use fishing as an excuse. And the lack of a good excuse is almost as troubling as a lack of fishing…

Bruce Smithhammer
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