Skip to content

Fishing Trips: Opening Day, 2009

April 2, 2009

-The 2009 fishing season arrived without notice to most people in Orono Maine today. It was a day typical of this week, cloudy with a brisk wind that still held a hint of the winter weather past. After a six month layoff, the excitement of the upcoming day quickly foiled my plans to retire early, and I spent over an hour unpacking and repacking my vest and making sure I had everything I needed. I fumbled with tippet and leader materials trying to remember exactly how I tied all my knots, and was quickly reminded that my hands shake rather violently, like a smoker who misplaced his last pack of Camels.
Nervous to finally fish with the flies I’ve been tying, I lined up my streamers and hit them all with an extra dab of head cement. A thousand things would probably go wrong during my first day out on the water, but my flies falling apart would not be one of them. By the time I crawled into bed my clock said 1:30 a.m., and as I set my alarm for 5. I knew I was in for a rough morning.

The Penobscot River

I awoke exactly like I knew I would, angry and overtired, but my mood quickly changed when I realized what special day it was. I quickly jumped out of bed and threw on my clothing, gathered my flies, and made for the door. Then a realization slapped me upside the head, at 5am in April it’s still pitch dark outside. Feeling pretty stupid and defeated, I checked my calendar and calmly noted the sun would rise at 6:30 before climbing back into bed to cry myself back to sleep for another hour.

When I awoke the second time, there would be no more mistakes. In no time at all I was driving towards Alton in search of Birch Brook where I planned on making my first casts of 2009. As I made my first left hand turn, my always too hot coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts quickly surrendered half of it’s contents to my lap. Cursing like I tend to do in less than favorable situations such as this one (family trait), I forced a smile and thought to myself how typical the sequence of  events was for an opening day. At least I was going fishing, finally.

Angry Beaver

Angry Beaver

Winter, Slowly Losing it's Grip

Winter, Slowly Losing it's Grip

As I pulled down a steep embankment that looked like a rough boat landing, I put the truck in park and quickly examined the surrounding waters. A small bridge about 12 feet above the water looked like the most promising option to cast away the cobwebs, and I quickly unpacked and started to string up my fly rod. After about 6 missed guides and the difficult decision of selecting the first fly of the season, I settled for a size 6 Grey Ghost and made my way over the rail and out onto the bridge. I was quickly put on alert that I wasn’t alone as a beaver slapped his tail and circled in the distance, examining me impatiently. The patch of water I had hoped to fish was littered with the remnants of a harsh winter, as pieces of wood and dirty snow formed a messy soup. The water on the opposite site of the bridge, oddly enough, was completely open.

I stripped some line from my reel and away my streamer went. As if waving around an arm that had fallen asleep, I made 5 or 6 false casts to get that feeling of six months ago back. Soon enough I was casting like it was Fall 08, praying for a fish to freight train my fly. Moving back and forth across the bridge from bank to bank, the minutes turned to and hour, and the Grey Ghost turned to a Mickey Finn, and then a large red Hornburg. I began having visions, seeing what looked like fish checking out my fly and quickly darting back to the depths. Fish Fever? Who knows, but it was frustrating and exciting all at once!

The New Double L. Rod and Reel and far too pretty to NOT photograph.

The New Double L. Rod and Reel and far too pretty to NOT photograph.

Knowing that I could easily fish straight through my 9 o’clock class, I had previously set my Alarm as a warning that I should probably get going if I didn’t want to be late. My pocket suddenly exploded with the sounds of a country western concert, and try as I may, I couldn’t ignore it. I made one last cast, and then another, and yet another, before finally reeling my line in and snipping the fly. It’s difficult to feel defeated on opening day, but I really couldn’t describe the feeling as anything else. Maybe it was the addition of school to the equation, or not being able to share the occasion with my dad or some buddies. Either way, I had finally made my first casts to kick off the season. While I caught nothing more than a cold and a few strange looks while standing there in my fly fishing vest and red plaid earflap hat, I was undoubtedly the first person in Orono to go Fly Fishin in 2009, and this made me grin.

High Water, Ice, Snow, and much more make up a wintery soup

High Water, Ice, Snow, and much more make up a wintery soup

While the Fish River in front of my house where I usually kick off my season was flowing through my mind the entire time, I couldn’t help but smile the entire drive back to campus. It’s truly amazing what less than an hour of fly fishing will do to a man after a long, stressful winter. The day seemed different, and the change was welcomed with open arms. For the next six month I now have another option, the only option, Fly Fishing.

Happy Castings,


add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2009 10:20 pm

    Great post, Ben. Been there, done that on Birch Stream opening day about 4 yrs. ago, if I can remember right. Pretty similar results too!

    I enjoy reading the blog, keep up the good work. We really do have some great fishing in northern Maine, which I wish I’d taken more advantage of growing up.

    I’m lucky enough to be in Montana now, though, where there’s no closed season and the fishing is great for most of the year!


  1. 210
  2. Fishing Trips: Opening Day, 2009

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: