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The perils of casting against the wind

Last week I found a couple of free hours in my busy workday, so I decided that I should break out my fly rod, visit a local lake, fish from shore, and try to take a few panfish. At the time, I didn’t know this was going to turn into a life-threatening situation.

Right now, many of you are probably thinking that I might be exaggerating. After all, how ornery can a rock bass get? Well, I could tell you stories that would make your blood run cold. But in this case, the danger was because of the wind rather than the panfish.

Hold it, you might also say. How was the wind a danger when you were fishing from shore? Did it reach terrifying levels? Were farmhouses and livestock blowing by? Did you get scooped up by a hurricane? Were munchkins and flying monkeys involved?

Good questions all. But the truth is, the wind was dangerous because I was using a fly rod.

Anyone who has every fooled around with a fly rod and a weighted fly knows that they are already dangerous enough – that’s why we call this chuck-and-duck fishing. But once you add a moderate wind into the mix, you are now entering the lethal zone.

You see fly line does not want to cooperate with the average caster during the best of times. One wrong move and it will wrap itself around you like an anaconda and quite possibly drive a hook into an embarrassing place that you don’t even want to mention to the emergency room staff who would have to extract it, especially if you live in a small community.

A wind only complicates matters further, which in practical terms means the person who finds you three days later lashed between two trees is going to initially think there is a giant spider in the vicinity. Also, they will ask where the fly you were casting is – and you will probably refuse, or at the very least, be reluctant to answer.

That was the sort of situation I knowingly entered into the other day, not because I needed panfish, but rather because I needed my fly rod to know that, even though I have neglected it for much of this spring due to the new pup, I still hold strong feelings for it and want things to return to the way they used to be.

Let me tell you; it turned out to be a rough few minutes. The wind was blowing at me at gale force speeds from, unless I am greatly exaggerating, all directions at once. This caused my fly line to hang still in the air, unsure of where to go next.

Sadly, it eventually chose to hold tight to me and several nearby trees. I re-enacted this for three casts in a row before I asked myself the truly important question: Is any rock bass worth risking your life over?

Then I remembered I had a lawn to mow and continued fishing.

In the end, I did not catch any fish and only caught 70 to 80 shrubs – which in my world is deemed a great success.

Then when I got home my wife asked if there were any flies in embarrassing places that perhaps she, or ER room staff should know about? To which I proudly answered no. She then gave me a hug and whispered something highly inappropriate in my ear.

I had no choice but to oblige her. But I ask you, why is it never too windy to mow the grass?

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