Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 57 - Food

I've been reading Mark Kingwell's book titled "Catch and Release". In the opening few chapters he describes everything but fishing. However, at one point he does elaborate on food and fly fishing. He starts off by quoting Arthur Ransome, and then takes up a discourse of fishing and lunches for a paragraph or two.
Arthur Ransome remarks in his memoir Rod and Line that the mark of a bad fishing inn is that it offers overly elaborate dinners and, especially, lunches of any kind, since taking advantage of the offered meals would mean giving up fishing time in order to return and eat them.

First off, I have to admit that I've never been to a "fishing inn" or even had a guide prepare my lunch for me. Sorry to say folks that my fishing experiences come from trips out of my car, not out of a guide's boat. As such, I can't speak too authoritatively on the subject of fishing inn lunches, but I can speak on my past experiences.

Lately, when time allows, I've been packing a cooler (sometimes if I'm really lucky my wife will pack it for me) with a couple of sandwiches, a couple of cans of soda (Pepsi or Cheerwine (the redneck's Dr. Pepper)), and maybe a bag of chips. Sometimes I brew up a pot of coffee and fill a thermos, other times I stop and grab a Gatorade. My lunches are meager and I'd like to think of humble means. My sandwiches are normally Peanut Butter and Jelly, however I've discovered Nutella is pretty awesome as a replacement for peanut butter.

Typically what happens is that the fishing will slow down at some point (or my arm gets tired of casting) and I decide it might not be a bad time for a break. With sloshing wet boots, I'll make my way back to the Trout-mobile. I'll open up the back hatch and sit down on the bumper. I'll have my cooler by my side and will rummage through it drinking and eating as I may. This is when fly fishing really becomes contemplative for me. My mind is no longer trying to figure out how to catch the trout that I know that is there, and I'll let it wander. Sometimes I admire a low circling hawk, other times I think about where to go next. And if I'm really lucky, I'll think about life, the universe, and everything. Of course, this happens when I'm alone.

The other day I went fishing with my new friend John. In my mad crazy morning, I had skipped the packing of the cooler so I wouldn't break the cardinal rule of fly fishing (Thou shalt not be late for a fishing trip). I managed to be only a few minutes late, as my stomach was growling for breakfast and I picked up some McDonald's on the way in. Anyway, when John and I stopped for lunch, we dropped the tailgate on his pickup and had a seat. I ate a granola bar that he had and then later on some of his beef jerky. We ended up talking for about a half hour, joking about life in the Army, the anglers who caught more trees than fish, and where our next trip should take us.

My point is that sometimes that lunch in the middle of the day is what we truly need. While catching fish is definitely a positive, the camaraderie is what is actually needed. It was good to talk to John the other day as I've been looking forward to talking the techno stuff that fellow anglers talk about (the pluses/minuses of overloading a fly rod, how a bamboo fly rod feels in the hand, the ethics of using eggs and woolly buggers to catch trout...). I honestly can't remember what the first fish was, let alone how big it was. But I can tell you where we were at for lunch, and the conversations we had. Maybe this is why they call the kitchen the heart of the home.


  1. It's a good thing I didn't know about the non-eating when out fishing rule because I always take food. Like you, I've never had a guide make me a lunch, but my favorite lunch in the world is made over in West Yellowstone. A little hole in the wall that a fisher can walk in, early morning, have an entire sack lunch made up and you take it into the park with you. Those midday stops, rests, and pauses are wonderful.
    Eating on the tailgate is the best place. Done it many, many times.
    P.S., I love your quest and look forward to all 365 days

  2. Oh yes, lunch is a must even if fishing alone. Have I went without eating? sure have and I noticed I was sloppy with my casts, rather impatient and not reading the water like I should and... not to mention, overly tired.

    I feel taking time to eat allows you to absorb the other things we have out there like, fellowship with your friends, the surrounding landscape (pics!) and re-charges your batteries so to speak. Sometimes this break allows you to re-think your strategy and review the mornings progress don't forget gear maintenance.

    I guess my bad habit is I am a walker, I mean for me to walk a few miles of river in the opposite direction of the lunch cooler happens almost every trip. Fishing the wild streams you tend to do that so lunch is timed to things such as a growling stomach, rain, nothing hitting, extreme weather blah blah..and is always something simple even to the point of whatever is in my pocket and the only seat is a rock or stump.

    I need to remember, its not always about me when I am out there and I should consider the others in the party, if any.

    Naaaaa this is fishing we're talking about, keep moving Soldier, put that year old granola bar in your vest to good use, we're burning

    Great blog, keep up the good work.