On The Fly
Fly-fishers are a unique breed.
They seem to always live life on the fringe; seeking solitude on the river during times often reserved for family, food, drinks and celebration.
Thanksgiving Day is no exception.
While most people are busy watching football games and sipping libations after stuffing their faces full of turkey and pumpkin pie, I and a few select others instead opt to head out on the river in the promise of feeding fish and empty rivers.
To put things in perspective a little bit, it would be like having an epic powder day on an empty mountain.
My friends, and others like us, cringe at the thought of being cooped up indoors on a holiday knowing that the rivers are full of unpressured, happily feeding fish.
Over the years, I’ve occasionally bumped into other house-broken fishing bums on the stream with the same intentions that I had; it’s a holiday, I bet the river is empty, I should go fishing.
Though we’re all here for the same reason; fishing and solitude, it never ceases to amaze me that fly-fishers are a warm, heartfelt group of outsiders, whom when confronted on the river during a holiday (or blizzard, rain storm etc.) are always full of exuberance and life.
There’s just something special about knowing that while everybody else is indoors, we’re outdoors.
This shared bond is more powerful than you might think, often turning strangers into instant friends.
After the usual in-stream meet and greet, we exchange a quick holiday cheer with one another, ask each other how the fishing is, and eventually, as the day plays out, a sort of loose camaraderie often develops.
If fishing close to one another, we might rejoice in each other’s successes when a big or hard-earned fish is caught.
Then again, on the opposite side of the equation we might give sympathy to one another when a large fish is lost.
Words should always kept to a minimum on the stream, but by the end of the day, we might share a nip or two to shake off the cold and congratulate each other on escaping the rat race of the holidays to enjoy the unplanned company of one another.
All of us have a lot to be thankful for, no matter how you choose to spend your Thanksgiving.
A little bit of company (and booze) is always welcome to rejoice in yet another year of fishing looming on the horizon.
— This column is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at (970) 927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.
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Born in New Castle, Alice McKennis Duran learned to ski at 2 at Sunlight Mountain with her father and older sister, Kendra. She also had a brief stint training with the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club prior to joining the national team.