Thunderstruck on the Ausable
I think I’ve found my answer.
When Steve and I quit golf cold turkey several years ago, I didn’t know how long it would last, if I’d ever go back to the links, or if this full-time fishing thing was going to work out.
I really enjoy both, albeit in very different ways. Golfing was a big part of my childhood and my relationship with my Dad, so I know I will never completely let it go. But fishing was now part of my adult life and my relationship with Steve.
Recently, I could see where this is going.
Summer, of course, is the common denominator for both sports. And summer brings with it showers and, if it’s warm enough, thunderstorms. Sitting on the porch or high on a distance hill, I can sit and watch the pending storms for hours, enjoying the light show.
Not so on the golf course.
The distant roll of thunder sends me off the course, and probably a lot quicker than necessary (just ask Steve). Maybe it was years of reading stories about golfers struck down in the middle of the fairway or dashing back to the clubhouse after waiting too long. I’m not sure, but I do know it is usually an early exit. (Except for the time Steve and I played through a tornado warning. Hey, we were young and in love and it was a date night. Who wanted that to end early?)
On the stream, it’s a completely different story.
Still a neophyte when it comes to casting a fly rod and working hard to get it right, each night out is special – even when things aren’t going the way they should. This particular night, I had just gotten the hang of throwing out the Woolly Bugger and recognizing when a fish would take it. I hooked a fish and played it to within 10 yards, before performing my long-distance release trick, allowing the trout to swim away.
I heard the rumbling in the distance and felt that nervous twinge, but maybe I could get in just one more cast, and another, and maybe just one more. As the now-apparent storm got closer, my casts got a little quicker, but it seemed there was always time for another.
Now, standing there in the Ausable River that night, it would stand to reason that when we all heard the thunder, I would be the first off the stream, back into the truck and waiting it out.
Then, I briefly thought of my situation – standing knee-deep in water with electricity swirling in the air. I wasn’t a whiz with science in school, but I soon realized it was not a great combination.
So reluctantly I reeled in the Woolly Bugger and head for shore. Of course, once there, it was a mad scramble to the truck and (relative) safety.
As the rain came down in sheets and the lightning flashed overhead, I peered sadly out the window at the Ausable. Just a few nights earlier, I left the river disappointed and discouraged, but having returned and beginning to slowly get the hang of it, I couldn’t wait to get back out there.
I’m not so young anymore, but apparently in love again. Bring on the tornadoes.