How did life get so complicated? How does one make the left turn to an exaggerated state of busyness? I have handwritten notes to remind me where the other handwritten notes are located so I won’t forget what the fourth note said if I can find where I put it! Seems as if the wheels of my thought process move faster than the rest of me can catch up with at times. Of course, it bleeds over into my fishing.
I had the opportunity to spend an entire weekend fishing ponds located in different geographical areas of the state of South Carolina. I had never seen, much less fished them, and many decisions seemed to complicate my entire pre-fishing ritual.
Going to a new area rendered the decision-making difficult. One pond was located near the southwest border of South Carolina while the second pond was located near the center of the state. Unknown answers to my questions would only be revealed when I visibly laid eyes on these bodies of water. But I did need to prepare for the expedition at hand.
Meanwhile, I would struggle with the ailment known as “tackleholicism.” This affliction usually rears its ugly head whenever I venture off to a new “unknown” place to fish.
“How much stuff do I really need to carry? What were the ponds like, heavy with lily pads stretching out to a swamp? Do I take the 7-weight fly rod or is the 6 and maybe the 5 weight rods sufficient? Should I grab the stiff saltwater rods for the wind? Or do I just grab all rods of various sizes to be ready to handle all situations?”
Now I must think about reels and lines. If I throw topwater, then a floating line is in order, but which size rod would I use? Lily pads need a heavier line to pull the fish out. If I decide to throw streamers, a medium sink tip to get the fly down a little deeper is required. Should I just bring the topwater assortment of flies or include the streamer box and nymph assortment?
And not to forget my flybox(es), is there anything I need to tie before I leave? Why do I always over-tie the number of flies for a trip only to find out I didn’t have the right ones anyway?
Fly type and size would also determine what size tippet I need to preassemble my leaders. Also, thoughts about the pond types crossed my mind. Are they tannic stained from organic matter or spring-fed and crystal clear as drinking water in a glass? If they are overgrown with grass and lily pads, do I need to bring my weedless fly selection?
Would there be a small boat to use at either pond? Is the battery charged for the trolling motor or would I have to paddle? Should I worry about bringing a marine trolling motor battery? Or do I need to bring boots to wade the ponds’ edge and be on snake and alligator alert?
As packing and gathering began, the mancave took the look of a fly shop on Black Friday! Miscellaneous equipment, fly rods from different manufacturers, multiple fly boxes, rain gear, and a kayak paddle were laid neatly on the floor. It looked organized to me, though my wife thought differently. Unsure of conditions, the element of surprise, and coupled with pre-fishing excitement, it was finally decision time. What to pack?
Decisions were finally made, and the truck loaded. In three hours, I would be standing in a new frontier to sore lip some fish. My preparations were replayed a thousand times over in my mind the driving the entire trip. I hope there is never a time when I quit being excited about a fishing trip and the actual act of fishing.
On this trip, each of the Jon boats I used on both ponds took on water, one more than the other. On the first pond, I realized it was time to get back to land when the duck decoy laying in the back stern floor almost floated out. Luckily the trolling motor battery had enough juice to get me back.
At the second pond, I took a 12-ounce solo cup and used it to constantly bale the incoming water in order to provide a few good hours of fishing. Fish were caught and memories were made. And the one fly rod I grabbed along with a handful of flies provided a “simpleton“ many hours of enjoyment!