The implementation of cautionary measures is escalating daily here and life, as we’ve known it, is changing rapidly. They have—so far—not been as drastic as in other places in the news, but the status is no longer quo. Internationally-arriving passengers are required to impose 14-day self-isolation (and are promptly deported if they don’t comply). All international travel is most strongly discouraged. Air New Zealand direct flights to Chicago and Houston are cancelled. Anyone over 70 is not to undertake any unnecessary travel, but to stay at home. The meetings of my Devonport Folk Music Club and the Auckland Bluegrass Club are cancelled until further notice.
All meetings and excursions planned by my North Shore Fly-Fishing Club have also been cancelled—however, I was able to participate in a trip to fish the Whanganui (fong-a-NEW-ee) River near the town of Taumarunui (toe-ma-roo-NEW-ee) with good conscience last weekend, before conditions tightened. It’s a 5-hour drive south from Auckland (leaving on Friday afternoon in peak traffic). The weather couldn’t have been better, but the stream conditions were rather too challenging for my artificial knees and my 75-year-old cautionary sense of balance: I estimate that the river was, on average, 40 meters wide and armpit-deep, and the river bed was composed of very-slippery rocks ranging from plum- to VW-beetle size, with most of them larger than bowling balls. I use a wading staff, of course but, under these conditions, each step had to be carefully analyzed well in advance and executed with utmost caution, because I had only one hand for the staff (the other was holding my fly rod). Having said that, the rest of my report must include that I caught no trout, though a fellow (much-younger and considerably more spry) Club member caught four that were over 60 cm (24 inches). But I had my camera with me and was happy to come away with some good photographic memories. One can only wonder when such an opportunity to fish with these friends may arise again. In the meantime, may we all keep the necessary distance in mind, cherish the active memories, and support one another in every way that we can. Please stay safe and stay healthy!
Lovely images and sounds like a superb weekend :)
In spite of all the challenges, it was–at the very least–great exercise. Thanks, Vicki!
What beautiful photos of a beautiful place. People usually don’t think of Texas when they think of fly fishing, but there are places in the state where our Parks & Wildlife department releases trout from time to time, and people who’ve been tying flies all winter make good use of the opportunity. I once came across a guy fly fishing in the Guadalupe river south of Kerrville — my goodness, he was happy!
Here’s to finding what opportunities we can to enjoy the benefits of being outdoors, even if trips like this aren’t possible for a time.
Fly fishing is not restricted to trout, of course. Many fish eat critters that can be imitated, and not only insects–there are patterns for crustaceans like crayfish and shrimp, molluscs like snails, and even mammals like mice! In addition to trout, I love fly-fishing for bass, bluegill, sunfish, crappie (rhymes with hoppy), and pike. Just to name a few!
Being out in nature at a river with the prospect of catching a healthy meal may well be the antidote for many stressed out by the threat of the coronavirus in these challenging times.
I almost never keep a fish for a meal any more–unless it has hooked itself in a way that will likely prove fatal, such as in the gills. I just like to fish and to know that there are healthy fish around. And the fishing is always good–it’s not necessary to catch anything!
Even though our lake is full of trout and kokanee and deer and elk roam in our forests, I only hunt with my camera.
Love this post, Gary, both in terms of the pictures and of hearing about your life in retirement. 5 years your junior, I still have my own knees, although the right one may be giving up the ghost >>> and I very much identify with your precautions about balance. Take good care of yourself, my friend. Adrian :)
The things we’re having to balance just now extend far beyond our own bodies, frail or not. It is always a balm to the soul to be out in the natural world and it’s very, very frightening to contemplate not being able to for the foreseeable future. We all have to take care of each other in any way that we can.
Sadly no fish but happily some nice images and memories of a day at a lovely location. Sounds like a good day, Gary. Glad that you were able to do a little traveling and enjoy a day out. As we age keeping our balance on slippery rocks gets harder each year. Even without bad knees it’s tricky. As you know, I did ditch myself earlier this year and had the wet pants all morning to prove it.
We’re instructed by our Governor to keep inside as much as possible, but walks in the neighborhood or woods are encouraged as long as we stay away from others.
Keep clear of the virus and stay healthy, Gary!
That’s exactly my plan. We have no direct contact with our daughters or the grands, chatting from yards away through the screen on our porch or by computer videochat. It’s sad that we have to resort to these measures, but we’re totally convinced that they are well worth the inconvenience. Thanks very much, Steve, and stay healthy too!
Keep fishing, even if you don’t catch anything. :-) That looks like such a beautiful, peaceful place. I agree, some terrific images – the second one especially appeals to me. Take care!
It’s practically impossible to get out fishing now, as we don’t have a car here, and all unnecessary travel is forbidden. There’s also a real chance that we may even not be allowed to fly back to MN for the summer there, which will serve to extend my dry period even longer. Sigh.