The best and (possibly) worst thing that can happen for an angler whose loved one doesn’t angle is a capitulation. In my case, it was the gear that finally wore him down. He’s a trooper when it comes to sitting streamside, reading and thinking Thoreau thoughts. But fish slime and poison ivy are just a little too one with nature for this Big City man.
My mission, if he chose to accept it, was a drive to the pleasant town of Pauling, NY, where there is history (the former headquarters of George Washington), a quaint town center, bakeries and bookstores.
Oh, and just in case, a well-regarded fly shop. We checked a Zipcar out of the parking garage and headed out of Manhattan on a bright and breezy day.
Once we were clear of westside traffic I dropped a few hints. Two hours later we sat down to lunch in an Irish pub on the wrong side of town, and the mission was all but accomplished. I had mentioned a few brand names and as soon as Patagonia found its way into his subconscious he was ready to wear his NYS DEC license like a badge of honor.
As we pulled into the parking lot, I admired the store signage and the logo stickers on the back door. This was looking good. But what’s that note in the window?
Seriously, late April does not seem like an ideal time for the entire staff to go fishing for the weekend. Maybe business had been that good already! God bless ‘em and I hope they caught and released their limit, but the next time I see or hear the name of this fine establishment I’m going to feel one thing: disappointment.
There was nothing to do but retreat to one of my favorite little streams in the Croton watershed. We hiked a little way into the woods, and as we approached a pool I saw a rise. Still distracted by the recent letdown, I stumbled hastily into the stream and had cast to the little brookie three times before recognizing the green sludge that my line was lifting from the water.
The little jewel of a stream with its wild and wary trout had become a didymo-slicked water slide. I looked at my boots and realized they would have to be burned, and the only fly shop for miles around was closed.
But there was my companion, cheerfully reclining in his camp chair, listening to woodpeckers, happy to enjoy my enjoyment of fishing and ready to rescue me if I fell in. And you know what? It was a great day.