The following article was originally published in The Country Anglin’ Outdoor Guide.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, we used to “get away from it all.” We used to take he horse drawn carriage, later the train, then the family sedan and we jaunted off into unknown territories. Our tethers to the world severed by dirt roads and campgrounds where giant moths laid waiting in the toilets of the dimly lit bathrooms. Buried deep within the rivers and valleys of this great land was a solitude that refreshed and enlivened the spirit. Tree frogs and katy-dids sang us to sleep and nothing but the morning mist hung in the air when we awoke.
By venturing into the unknown, we left the world and all its woes behind. This was the time period just after when “the world and all its woes” was the wilderness, with all its sickness, disease, packs of relentlessly predatory animals and general discomfort. The “wilderness” was where cholera and typhoid besieged the wagon train and birth/ death rates were running a race to see who was the fastest, with no end in sight. However, somewhere along the line we turned the tables on things and suddenly we went to the outdoors, far from any established human habitation to discover something new about ourselves. Although its possible that sleeping in tents is just fun for the kids and as a general rule, parents do what their kids want, and never the other way around. For whatever reason, we moved into the cold dark unknown and allowed ourselves to slip between the trees and find solitude among the old timber and rambling brooks. The gap between our vacationing selves and the civilized world was filled only with cool mountain air. There were no cell towers or GPS satellites. There were no Internet connections to worry about, no emails, no iPhones, no iPods and the best black berries were the ones growing on the neighbors hedge row. When we were gone, that was the only place we were, gone. We might have even locked the back door to the house if we were really going someplace special.
For the most part those detached days are now gone. We live in the era of the 24 hour news cycle, where we feed on tiny morsels of minute by minute minutia. We dissect the words and actions of people we don’t know, and arm chair quarterback their decisions about things that most of us really don’t know anything about. The “here and now” has become “everywhere and never.” We are so preoccupied with what everyone else is doing on their twitter feed or facebook page that we allow no time to get anything done for ourselves. Thankfully there is fly fishing, the perfect antidote to our modern frantic lives. I remind you, currently for many of us, it is growing increasingly difficult, both financially and logistically, to get away from all the ringing, buzzing, blinking, i-things for more than an hour or two. However an hour or two on the river is more than enough to erase away all the digital mess of our modern lives. Don’t let the TV shows make you think you have to go to the ends of the earth to enjoy a day on the river, we have plenty of amazing fishing opportunities right here at home in the Buckeye state.
My first trip after the winter thaw this year was the perfect cure-all for the craziness of work and winter. It was a Sunday evening, on my favorite honey hole. I was on the river for two hours, and landed three beautiful, healthy, wild smallmouth. Granted, it wasn’t an expedition into the great hinterland. I didn’t take a float plane to get there. There was no purple mountain’s majesty, there was nothing extreme or noteworthy. There was nothing making it any more special than any other average day on the river, except that it erased all the crud built up from emails, meetings, and deadlines. Which reminds me —the best time to go fishing — any time you can.