Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Orderly Obsessing

Tom Rosenbauer over at the Orvis Podcast talked last week about preparing for a trip. It's a fairly succinct list of twelve or so (I never really trust his count, he sorta just make things up from a numbers perspective) tips on how to prepare both pre-trip and prior to getting on the water.

Now that's all fine and dandy if like taking your advice from a humble and wise individual who's fished around the world for anything that swims for something like four decades and works for a top provisioner and outfitter such as Orvis.

I, however, can provide you with an alternate list of preparations based upon less than a decade of actual fishing for a handful of species. While I may not be either humble or experienced, I believe my preparations will resonate with many* of you out there. Here's my countdown to a successful trip.

Day 11 Prior To Departure: Log on to the USGS Streamflow site and Look up conditions in the locale that you will fish. Bookmark same. Consult Online Topo Maps of location. Perform visualization exercise of the excellent fishing and delightful weather you will experience whilst fishing along the blue lines. Consult Google Maps to cross-correlate topo map with satelite map. Wonder why fly fisherman can't get the same high-res, real-time satellite pictures that the CIA gets. Bookmark. Review guide's website and scoff at the pitiful display of caught fish. Visualize your hero shot of a world record fish.

T-Minus 10: Reload Consult the ten day forecast. Divine the impact of the weather over the next ten days on the streamflow gauge based upon experience, wisdom, and pure guesswork. Wring hands with anxiety about potential, disastrous conditions.

T-Minus 9: Repeat Day Ten Preparations. Consult local fly shop website for intelligence on the hatches. Note fly box contains inadequate supply of needed flies. Consult fly tying desk for appropriate materials to tie required flies and order any materials missing (plus a bunch of other stuff your really don't need).

T-Minus 8:  Repeat Day Ten Preparations but with enhanced visualization of you catching "The Big One" during a spectacular [insert bug name here] hatch. Recall the pinhole leak in the left leg of waders. Reload Ten Day forecast at least once per hour throughout the day.

T-Minus 7: Repeat Day Ten Preparations noting with some anxiety that there's now a 30% chance of rain on the day you will fish. Recall from the trip to Penns Creek two years ago that a 30% chance of rain doesn't mean it will rain 30% of the time. In fact, it means there's a 30% chance that it can rain cats and dogs 100% of the day. Dig out rain gear, put in car. Wring hands.

T-Minus 6: Unpack order from fly shop. Stack neatly on top of the chaotic pile of materials on fly tying desk. Commit to tying "tomorrow". Repeat Day 10 preparations noting that the percent chance of rain in the 10-day forecast seems to change hourly. Commit to reloading web page every half hour to ensure intel is accurate.

T-Minus 5: Put hook in vise. Wander out to garage and inventory fly gear. Repack vest/chest pack/sling pack to ensure everything is in order. Note lack of leaders. Put stuff in car. Pour beer. Check weather website every 15 minutes while watching reruns of NCIS.

T-Minus 4: Lament rain predictions of almost 50% and potential for thunderstorms on the anointed day. Call the guide and obsess about conditions. Hear the soothing sounds of the guide's voice as he talks you off the ledge. Reload weather website every ten minutes. Reload the USGS streamflow site every 15 minutes. Recall you still haven't done anything about the pinhole leak in the waders but at least they're packed in the car.

T-Minus 3: Recheck gear. Add a back-up rod for the back-up rod to the stack. Consider taking another pair of waders "just in case" but then discard that idea as crazy. Add a small stream rod just in case you decide to fish a creek. Add a back-up rod for the small stream rod. See the bug juice and sun screen sitting on the shelf and toss that in the back. Applaud yourself for not forgetting same once again. Reload weather website and note storm has moved out two days. 10% chance of rain on fishing day. Do happy dance. Reload topo map site and engage in advanced visualization exercise.

T-Minus 2: Tie two Comparaduns in the appropriate color. Surf web for several hours seeking examples of emerger and nymph patterns for the required fly. Note you're missing two key ingredients for the correct form of the nymph including the fabled "urine stained fox belly fur". Abandon vise, pour beer, recheck gear. Watch CSI reruns for several hours.

T-Minus 1: Be alarmed that the storm has moved back in and it's likely going to rain tomorrow. Check one more time to ensure rain gear is in car. Drive to buddy's house to pick him up. Note that his pile of gear is half the size of yours and scoff at his lack of preparedness. Drive X hours to fishing locale stopping along the way to get a coffee at Starbucks and check the websites for weather and streamflow reports. Call guide and obsess along the way. Stop by fly shop near stream and pick-up: Leaders, flies, at least one hat, local map, aquaseal for wader leak, and a t-shirt. Check-in to hotel. Sleep fitfully.

If you follow this fool proof list of preparations, you too can be prepared for days on the water.

* At least three of the four people who read this blog. Thanks, Mom!

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