Hurrrrggaaccchhthth!! Yawn, stretch, scratch, repeat. I can't believe it's Monday again. It must be time for coffee so let's have some.
"But hold on," you say, "what's this about quitting?"
The answer is no- Fontinalis Rising isn't going anywhere. As a matter if fact I would like to restore FR to its former mediocrity.
But is am quitting my job today and going back into business for myself. Turning in my two weeks notice and leaving for two weeks vacation. The timing is fortuitous or awful depending on which side of this equation you sit, but can truly say it is pure coincidence that my first big job starts the day I step off the plane in two weeks.
And the vacation? Almost three years ago my daughter moved to Germany. I haven't seen her since, though we talk on a regular basis. She is 19 and lives on her own now, pursuing a career in music. She is a gifted singer, living in Innsbruck Austria. I leave tomorrow.
She informs me that there is indeed fly fishing in Austria and that I shall be going. She is friends with the main outfitter in town and he says he'll take me.
And what about the fishing in Northern Michigan? Well I can say without reservation that this was by far my best dry fly season ever. The hatches were astounding and steady, the water stayed high and cold, and the big fish fed with abandon. I personally caught at least a dozen brown trout over 20" this year on a dry fly and netted at least that many more for friends. The Hex hatch went on for weeks and we are still seeing duns from time to time, though the major spinner falls are over. I fished a lot, caught a lot, drove a lot of miles, lost a lot of sleep. I have a lot of stories to share.
I got out last week with my friend Chris Reister. We floated the Au Sable below Mio. Heavy rains caused the river to spike up and the temps to spike down- perfect, we thought, for throwing streamers. Indeed I had a grab within sight of the launch. There were quite a few Ephrons around but the fish didn't pay them much heed. Instead a steady olive hatch began and we started seeing the bubbling takes of the browns sipping them in.
I'd like to say we caught big ones, but the fish were small. Still, it was some of the most satisfying technical dry fly fishing of the season- long casts, tiny dries, difficult mends, picky fish, subtle takes. We really put the hurt on those fish. Chris is a master of this type of fishing, and he always gets this conspiratorial grin on his face when he's matching a hatch and stripping out line, stogie clenched firmly between his teeth, working a seam and throwing mends until he gets the algorithm just right and his line goes tight. My season on the Au Sable has been unforgettable, epic even.
Then yesterday while I was cleaning house and packing I got a message from Alex Cerveniak- we have to go brook trout fishing before you leave. One last time. Summer will be over before you get back. I looked at my bags and laundry, the long to-do list. I grabbed my keys and headed out the door. We fished some headwaters and caught as few brook trout before getting into thick cedar jungle. After that it was such a bushwhack that we spent more time navigating than fishing. Still, it was good to get out one last time before departing for the foreign sensual onslaught that is Europe.
Since my trip is a visit and not a tour I do intend to do a bit of writing and blogging. Look for a post or two here over the next two weeks. Next weeks MMC will be the Innsbruck edition. I'm going to go on a few runs, get caught up with my daughter, fish a little, take a train trip and drink a few Austrian beers. I've spent several weeks in Europe in the past so this ain't my first rodeo.
Well, my coffee is gone and it's time to go turn in my notice.
Let's get after it.