2013 was a good year for fly-fishing

Don Oliver
Don Oliver | Special to the Drum

The other day, I was standing in a stream when, under normal weather conditions, I would have been home napping in front of the fireplace.

There was no reason for the day to be that warm. It was the beginning of winter, and it should have been cold and snowy. But it wasn’t. Instead it was 55 degrees, and not a cloud in the sky.

So there I was. Four dollars into an eight-dollar cigar, casting dry flies to 12- and 14-inch rainbows, and I began to reflect on my 2013 fly-fishing season.

My memory, even though I turned 65 this year, seemed to be sharper than a new hook. I was able to recall with great clarity the places I had fished and the fish I had caught. I was truly amazed that the sizes and numbers of fish I had caught did not increase.

My travels for fly-fishing in 2013 took me to North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Florida, New Mexico, Colorado and the Bahamas. Fly-fishing in these various locations allowed me to catch everything from a 7-pound bonefish, to carp, smallmouth bass (one of which was 2 ½ pounds), trout, redfish, and pan-fish.

On these trips I made new friends, renewed old friendships, and managed to irritate only a couple of folks. Hopefully in 2014 I won’t irritate anyone.

Last Christmas, I decided to ask for fly-fishing stuff, and did, in fact, receive some really great gifts. And I have truly enjoyed them as I fly-fished, especially the boat.

So now that 2014 is almost here, asking for more toys seems pretty senseless. Even though I don’t have enough fly-fishing toys to make me the winner when I die, I’m close. With that in mind, I have hit on what I want for 2014.

I had friends and relatives die suddenly and unexpectedly in 2013. I want to make time to reach out to friends and relatives and ask them to fly-fish with me for a day. Not some grand planned event, but a spur-of-the-moment phone call to head out to a stream.

I want to see fly-fishing reach out to our men and women in uniform who have taken physical and mental beatings. Let’s not forget their families. They could use some of the healing effects of a boat ride.

Next, how about the men and women suffering from a seemingly endless array of horrendous diseases? There are any number of programs to help them. I want to know about them and use my toys in their programs.

And how about youngsters having problems? Just standing at the edge of a pond and showing a child how to cast my brand new fly-rod has to help. (Most likely both of us.)

So for 2014, I want to be able to use my fly-fishing toys to help provide a great year for others. And I want someone to remind me, from time to time, that it won’t happen by itself.

I realize I have used the word “I” more times in this column than any editor should tolerate. But please give some thought, and actions, as to how you can use fly-fishing to make a difference for others in 2014.

So as I end the last column for 2013, I want to close with my traditional year-end salutation: I wish everyone Feliz Navidad, Happy Hanukkah, a good Eid as-Adha, and of course Merry Christmas. If none of these fits your beliefs, then whatever touches your heart with hope be with you all of 2014.

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