I’d made plans a couple months earlier to get my son, Schpanky (The kid who never listens), out fishing with me during his Spring break. The boy started driving recently, and with a license comes ample opportunity to partake of a wide variety of endeavors – most of which do not involve the old man. He has long since gotten past that age where kids still think their dad’s are cool, but we have a good relationship and he’ll still humor me by going fishing with me from time to time. My plan is to not let him stray too far from the fly rod as he enters the next phase of his life, in hopes that when he comes back to his senses as a young adult he’ll actually embrace the fly angling obsession fully of his own accord. That should guarantee that I’ll always have someone to row the drift boat I plan to buy once I’ve paid for his and his sister’s college educations.
To insure that my son wouldn’t have to put up with me correcting his casting strokes or telling him what to do in general, I booked the trip with Derek Young of Emerging Rivers Guide Services. Derek is a great teacher and a fun guy – I knew Schpanky would have a great time fishing under Derek’s tutelage while I quietly occupied the rear of the boat. As the date grew nearer, visions of mild sunny days danced in my head: El Niño had done a stellar job of keeping our weather warmer and drier than normal throughout the winter and into early Spring. Surely April 8th would reward us with a beautiful day on which to engage in some quality father-son bonding. Who knows – fishing should even be pretty good by then, too.
Jump ahead to the start of Spring break: the weather began on a sour note and grew more unsavory as the week droned on. It was colder than it should have been, and rain and wind incessantly beat down upon Western Washington. Snow accumulated in the mountains, making up for a relative lack of the white stuff earlier in the winter. While I acknowledged that this would be good for rivers come summer, selfishly I was pissed off. Early in the week the meteorologists were telling me that Thursday looked to be the worst day of the week, and of course Thursday was the day we had our fishing trip scheduled. Knowing that meteorologists are notorious for being 80% right 20% of the time, I felt confident that Thursday wouldn’t be as bad as they predicted. On Wednesday night I checked the weather forecast online. Then I watched all 3 local TV networks, hoping to find one that would tell me what I wanted to hear. No matter the source, Thursday’s forecast didn’t bode well for shirt sleeves and dry fly fishing. Our destination was the town of Cle Elum, which lies on the eastern slopes of the Cascade range. The daytime high was predicted to be 38 degrees. A Winter Storm Warning was issued for the mountains, with 1-2 feet of snow expected and the snow level dropping to below 1000 feet by the end of the day. A High Wind Warning was posted for the east slopes of the Cascades, with winds of 35-45 mph and gusts above 50. Cle Elum lies smack dab in the heart of the east slope of the Cascades. Apparently, for once, the meteorologists were right. Damn them. I was in denial as I dutifully loaded our gear into the truck under the cloak of Wednesday night’s darkness.
The idea was to enjoy a day of fishing with my son. He’s fished enough to know that there’s more to fishing than catching fish, but the thought of sitting all day in a drift boat as a cold rain tests the limits of even the best foul weather gear, with a wind so fierce that casting becomes nearly impossible, pretty much left little opportunity for what I would call “fun”. And so like any real man would do, I called Derek and cancelled our plans. And like any real man would also do, I’m passing the buck and blaming the meteorologists.
Note to Schpanky:
I’m sorry that Mother Nature was such a bitch and forced the cancellation of our trip – we’ll get it rescheduled as soon as possible. If there was even a remote chance that you still thought I had an ounce of cool left in me, I realize that’s surely gone now. While I hope you don’t regard me with contempt, I wouldn’t blame you if you lumped me into the same category as Ryan Seacrest wearing a kitty cat t-shirt.
I love you,